Saul was once the most fierce opponent of early Christians, entering homes, arresting and imprisoning both men and women. But God chose to show him mercy instead of judgment. This is a testament to God’s love and grace that He extends to both sinners and saints. We, too, are alive today only through the grace of God.
As Saul travelled to Damascus with letters from the high priest to destroy the church there, he was struck down by a blinding light and heard a voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He replied, “Who are you, Lord?” The voice answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Saul asked, “Lord, what would you have me to do?” and was led to Damascus, where he encountered a disciple who was open to the Lord’s voice. It was through this encounter that Saul was brought to repentance.
Ananias, a man in Damascus, received a vision from the Lord to go and find Saul, who was seen praying in a vision by the Lord. The Lord assured Ananias that Saul was a chosen vessel, and Ananias, obedient, went to pray for Saul’s sight to be restored. Repentant prayer is always heard in heaven, and the Lord never despises a broken and contrite heart.
The Lord wants to save all sinners and will use all means necessary for their salvation. Ananias went to Saul and laid his hands on him, calling him “brother” and reminding him of the Lord Jesus’ appearance to him. The gospel of love endures.
Saul was transformed and became Paul, a vessel of mercy and a witness of the gospel. His experience on the road to Damascus demonstrates the grace and mercy of God and His willingness to save even the greatest of sinners. Paul’s story serves as a reminder that God is eager to hear our repentant prayers and that He can use even our weaknesses and failures to achieve His good purposes. May we, like Ananias, be willing to listen to the voice of God and follow His leading, no matter how unexpected it may be, and in doing so, share the gospel of love with those around us.