From two different worlds…

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Acts 9:10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12 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.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16 I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 

Saul was a promising young pharisee who encountered the risen Jesus on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus. Why was Saul going to Damascus? He was going to round up as many Christians as he could find to have them arrested, imprisoned, or worse. Saul was a young man who was going places in the world of Jewish clergy, one with a first-rate education who was also a Roman citizen – a big deal in the ancient world. But on the way to Damascus, Jesus rendered him blind and sent him to the house of a Christian believer named Judas (no relation to the disciple who betrayed Jesus).

Saul, the Jewish pharisee, would take on a new name and identity as Paul the Christian apostle.

It’s interesting to me how the apostle Paul was so different from the twelve original disciples of Jesus, several of whom were simple fishermen from the coastal area of Galilee. They were on opposite ends of the establishment spectrum in the Jewish world. In today’s world you might say the original disciples were educated on the streets. Paul, on the other hand, was like a Rhodes scholar from an Ivy League school. Jesus found value in both kinds of people to further the mission of the Kingdom of God.

Lesson? Jesus can and will use someone like you if you’re willing to say “yes”.

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