Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Acts 9: 1-18
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
To be enlightened means to have greater knowledge and understanding of a particular issue. It would be an understatement that Saul had an enlightened experience of Christ. Over the course of a few days he was a man with sight who persecuted believers to a man who was blinded and ultimately a man who regained sight, received the Holy Spirit, and was baptized. In fact, he goes on to be named “Paul” -- a complete change in identity through the enlightened experience on the road to Damascus.
While it's easy to focus on Saul, it's important to remember and not discount how these few days enlightened Saul’s fellow travelers and Ananias as well. While scripture does not speak to the details of these fellow travelers, I believe it would be fair to say these men likely shared similar views to Saul. These travelers were “speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone”. These travelers walked with a man who at an instant could no longer see and needed guidance to walk. What do we know about the impact of this experience in the enlightening of the fellow travelers? Did they continue to persecute Christians? Or, like Saul, did the experience enlighten their faith? Ananias, a believer, knew of Saul as a persecutor of God’s holy people.
Ananias questioned God (“Are we talking about Saul- THAT Saul?”). Ananias quickly learned the breadth and depth of God’s plan, purpose, and grace for everyone- even a man like Saul. Ananias is enlightened and upon placing his hands on Saul, he states “Brother, Saul…”, welcoming Saul into the family of believers This passage of scripture is clear that gaining greater knowledge and understanding of our faith can happen directly but indirectly through shared experience. But we must be open to these encounters through what we personally experience and the experience of others.
May our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts always be prepared to encounter God in the various ways he makes himself known. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
“Conversion is a work of sovereign grace where God moves in on our lives and surprises us with joy.” – John Piper
Dr. Anil Chacko, Long Island MTC
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church