June 07, 2019

An Unlikely Story

Acts 9:1-31

[They] were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners . . . ?”

—  Acts 9:21

As my children were growing up, they sometimes told stories that made me ask, “Really? Did that really happen?” I have to admit that I also told similar stories to my parents.

The story of Saul’s conversion caused a lot of people to ask, “Really?” Saul was a well-known persecutor of Christians. But that was before he met Jesus in a blinding vision on the road to Damascus. Then, after Saul was brought into the city by the men traveling with him, Jesus told a disciple named Ananias to bring Saul a message and restore his sight. Ananias responded, “Really?” He reminded the Lord that Saul had come to arrest believers in Jesus.

Ananias’s fear was joined later by the astonishment of others. Even the disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem could not believe the news. Only the courage and kindness of Barnabas helped Saul get an introduction to the apostles. What changed?

Saul changed. Saul had met Jesus. He had been blind, but now he saw the truth. An unlikely instrument—a persecutor of the church—became a preacher and teacher for Jesus.

Maybe you have thought about using a gift for God and have heard Satan whisper, “Really?” Don’t be discouraged. We are all unlikely instruments of God’s grace.

Lord, help us to know that by your grace and through your Spirit, you bring unlikely sinners to service in your kingdom. May we be bold for you. Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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