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13 "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name." 15
But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument
to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the
people of Israel.
not only rejected Christianity, he vigorously opposed it. He was
doing everything within his power to wipe it out. From his perspective
the claims of Jesus and his followers were lies and blasphemy. His
hostility toward Christianity was rooted in his faith and devotion to
God. Only through his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus did
he come to recognize Jesus as the very God he was trying to serve and
After he put his faith in Jesus as his Lord
and Savior, the energy and passion Saul/Paul had formerly directed
toward persecuting Christians was redirected toward helping others
become Christians. The man who was once the most feared opponent of
Christianity became the greatest evangelist, ambassador, and teacher of
the early church.
Great adversaries have the capacity
to become great advocates. Those who are zealous in their opposition
to God, may be chosen instruments he intends to use to reach others.
When those who thoughtfully and honestly oppose the gospel come to
recognize Jesus for who he truly is, they can become the most
believable, passionate, and effective witnesses for Christ in the
Response and Action:
God directed Ananias to go to Saul, he was hesitant and perhaps a
little fearful. He had heard about Saul's hostility toward Christian
faith and the harm he had inflicted upon followers of Jesus. Ananias
saw a threatening enemy, but God saw a passionate servant.
to be faithful and obedient to God as I relate to people who reject
Jesus and are hostile to Christianity. I want to be a loving and
thoughtful witness to those who are struggling with honest questions,
those who oppose faith for good reasons, and even those who strenuously
oppose Christianity because they think it's a lie.
I need to
remember that these opponents have the potential to reach and influence
more people than I ever could. Their opposition to Christ might be the
very thing that will lead them to one day recognize Jesus as the way,
the truth, and the life. They may be God's chosen instruments for
helping others come to faith in Christ.
God, make me ready to minister to others, and obedient to your call.
Help me to see the promise and potential people have in Christ. Give
me a love and generosity for those who deny and oppose you. Give me
the wisdom and understanding to answer the questions of honest
skeptics. Remind me that you are at work in the world to help seekers
find you. Give me the grace and integrity to live a Jesus-shaped life
that bears witness to the truth of the gospel. Through Christ, I pray.
Spiritual Formation Verses:
2 Corinthians 5:20
We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his
appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to
Courage and Calling: Embracing Your God-Given Potential
by Gordon T. Smith