The Conversion of Saul
 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest  and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.  Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him.  And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”  And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”  The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.  Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.  And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”  And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,  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.”  But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.  And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.  For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”  So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;  and taking food, he was strengthened.
Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. (ESV)
- Jesus saves
Paul (Saul) was a murderous man who sought to persecute all who trusted in Christ. He not only approved of Stephen’s murder (Acts 7:58 & 8:1), but also sought to imprison any who professed faith in Christ. Paul referred to himself as the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Yet Paul had a profound encounter and experience of Christ and his grace. There was nothing in Paul to attract Jesus to him, and yet Jesus pursued and saved Paul.
- God uses his people to accomplish his mission
Though Paul had a unique encounter with Jesus on his way to Damascus, it wasn’t the end of the story. God also used a man named Ananias to save Paul. We don’t know much about Ananias, but we do know that he was God’s appointed man to welcome Paul, to pray over Paul, and to nurture him back to health as he recovered from his Damascus road experience. As we consider the massive and global impact of Paul’s ministry, we must remember that without Ananias there would be no Paul. Everyone has a role to play in God’s mission.
- Jesus approached Paul and said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” In what sense was Paul persecuting Jesus? What does this teach us about Jesus and his identification with his Church?
- How does Ananias respond to Jesus’ instruction to receive Paul? In what ways can you identify with his response?
- Why did Paul, an established and circumcised leader of the Jews, need to be baptized? What is the significance of his baptism?
Call to Worship
Deliver Me, O LORD
A Song of Ascents.
 In my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me.
 Deliver me, O LORD,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.
 What shall be given to you,
and what more shall be done to you,
you deceitful tongue?
 A warrior’s sharp arrows,
with glowing coals of the broom tree!
 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,
that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
 Too long have I had my dwelling
among those who hate peace.
 I am for peace,
but when I speak, they are for war! (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Lord, we rejoice that in you we find our hope. We have tried and failed to manage our lives. We have tried to guard what we say and don’t say. We have tried to serve selflessly. We have tried to contain our appetites and desires. We have tried not to judge or condemn. We have tried to control our thoughts. The harder we try, the more obvious it becomes we cannot attain perfection. We confess our sin and weakness to you. Help us to walk in righteousness forsaking all others and clinging to you in faith. We humbly thank you for forgiving our sins and washing us clean through the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources are tools for families to use to help connect Sunday’s sermon to the rest of your week, fostering conversations and habits of worship.