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A Changed Man

Acts 9:20-22
At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, 'Isn’t he the man who caused havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?' Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. (NIVUK)

Saul had met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus. Saul's intention was to persecute the believers and try to eliminate the Jewish sect called 'The Way' (their term for Christians – Acts 9:2) who followed Jesus. Instead Jesus confronted Saul's arrogant ignorance, and Saul was converted, received the Holy Spirit and was baptised. From that moment Saul started a whole new life. First, he fellowshipped with his new spiritual siblings – the same people who he had come to arrest and imprison.

At that stage, there were no church buildings. Believers met in homes to break bread, share fellowship, understand the apostles' teaching, and to pray (Acts 2:42-47). As Jews, they continued to meet in the synagogues on the Sabbath with those who had not believed in Jesus. Saul joined them and was asked to speak. But far from accusing Jesus of blasphemy and warning the congregations not to join 'The Way' Saul now preached that Jesus is the Son of God.

It was very confusing to his hearers. Naturally the congregations were wary of Saul's reputation: was it some kind of a trap? But his arguments from Scripture were convincing, proving that Jesus is the Messiah. What had happened? Saul had encountered Jesus, submitted to Him (demonstrating that by submitting to baptism), and been filled with the Holy Spirit. Saul was simply telling the truth about Jesus, from the Scriptures under the guidance of the Spirit.

True conversion means that a person changes, and that should spark a new wave of interest about Jesus among friends and colleagues. If you are a new believer, allow your friends' confusion or interest to turn into questions which you can answer by telling them about Jesus. However, if you have been following Jesus for many years, the changes may not seem so obvious to others; or there may be some areas of life which have yet to undergo divine transformation. But change is on the agenda for all of us – to become more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). By His grace we can become what He intends us to be, if we cooperate with Him (Philippians 3:12-14).

Transforming Lord. Thank You for all that You have done in me to this moment. But I am sorry for the areas of life in which I have resisted Your transforming power. Please help me to become what You intend me to be, so that my friends and colleagues will want to seek Jesus, and find Him to be their Saviour too. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams