PAUL’S VIOLENT EPIPHANY AND THE GREAT REVERSAL

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Epiphany- Day 25

Acts 9:1-19 ESV

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.

CONSIDER THIS . . .

Paul was on a mission. . . from God. . . so he thought. His vision was crystal clear. He was going to Damascus, warrant in hand, to arrest Christians, tie them up and bring them to Jerusalem for punishment. His vision emerged from a crystallized hatred.

Note the process at work here. The bright light from heaven struck him blind, but his ears were opened to hear the voice of Jesus. And note that Jesus asks him the piercing question: Why?!

“His eyes were opened yet he saw nothing.” It took physical blindness to  open the eyes of his heart to behold the revelation of God. Ponder this astonishing reversal. The chief prosecutor of the movement became the chief advocate for the mission. This did not take place through debate, dialogue, persuasion or reasoning. It happened by epiphany: the realization of revelation that leads to transformation.

How about you? Any of this, be it ever so subtle, happening in your life these days? (jdw)

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