A New Man
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem... But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name...”1
As a Christian, have you ever met a person so lost in their way; so ugly and scarred from the inside; so damaged emotionally; that you thought, “This person will NEVER change”, “There is NO HOPE for them”? People like this scare us into our comfort zone and make us think that there is no point in sharing Jesus with them because they simply will not change.
Saul was this person. His actions were not only ugly, but they were also murderous. Literally. He is famously remembered for arrogantly standing by and holding the coats of those who stoned Stephen, a devout follower of Christ, to death. Christians, quite literally, feared for their lives when it came to Saul. There were not many who would dare to try and talk to Saul about Jesus because everyone had decided that there was no hope for this man, HE WAS NEVER GOING TO CHANGE!
But God had a greater plan for Saul. One day as Saul was En Route to execute a persecutory hunt, God literally knocked him off his high-horse and stopped him in his tracks. God put Saul on a three-day timeout that gave him time to come to repentance and pray. In the meantime, God called on one of His most faithful, a man named Ananias, and told him to go and find Saul, because he had been praying and was ready to change. Ananias had heard of Saul and was instantly afraid as he stammered a: ‘b-b-b-but L-L-Lord', to which God answered, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument!”
The rest of the story goes down in history as one of the greatest people miracles of the Bible. From that moment on, Saul was indeed a changed man and proclaimed the name of Jesus everywhere he went! People still feared the name of Saul, and since Paul was the equivalent of his Jewish name in Greek, he began to use that name instead. And that is the name that we remember as one of God’s greatest missionaries - The Apostle Paul!
God doesn’t require a name change from us; he requires a heart change. God has the power to change any one of us for the sole purpose of proclaiming His name. Don’t give up on that person just yet, as we saw from the example in today’s story, God can use the ugliest of all and turn him into a new man!
Dear Merciful God, you are awesome like no other. Your goodness and mercy have no end. You find diamonds where the rest of us see rocks. Thank you because your love found me, too! Allow me to see through your eyes, past the ugly and into the hearts of those you would use to proclaim your Mighty name! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.