Acts 9 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some days. Immediately, he began proclaiming Yeshua in the synagogues: ‘He is the Son of G_d.’ But all who heard him were astounded and said, ‘Isn’t this the man who, in Jerusalem, was destroying those who called on this name, and then came here for the purpose of taking them prisoners to the chief Priests?’ But Saul grew more capable, and kept confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that this One is Messiah.” Acts 9:19b-22
“When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to associate with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple. Barnabas, however, took him and brought him to the apostles and explained to them how, on the road, Saul had seen the L-_d, and that He talked to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Yeshua.” Acts 9: 26-27
The apostle Paul epitomizes the term, “radically saved!” In a complete 180-degree turn, Saul, persecutor of the Messianics for saturating Judaism with Gentiles & apostates, became “Apostle to the Gentiles.”
In Luke’s telling of the Acts of the Apostles, there is what writers call, a “condensation” of time. That is, Luke often lumps-together events, to prove a greater point….he condenses time. The down side of this literary approach is that readers can be led to believe events & occurrences happened at a faster pace. A more reliable real-time account of Paul’s conversion & ministry comes from Paul’s own words.
“But when G_d, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called my by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me, so that I could preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone. I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus. Then after three years, I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him 15 days. But I didn’t see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. Now what I write to you, I am not lying. G_d is my witness.” Galatians 1:15-20
The reason I mention this, is because, verse 22 of today’s passage says, “But Saul grew more capable”. His growth was not attributed to his Pharisaical schooling, or the Apostles’ teaching. It was directly from the Lord, as He revealed the scriptures to Paul.
Our understanding of the Gospel, our ability to articulate and our discernment of how & when to share, is a process. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not the most eloquent evangelist, today. Be encouraged to know that even great leaders like Paul had to grow into greatness. Simple prayer & Bible study diligence, matched by the revelation of G_d’s Word, by the power of His Ruach (Spirit) is the leadership catalyst of all believers.
Perhaps, that is why Paul said, “Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and above all that you may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1 Ask that G_d reveals something from His Word to you today, and gives you someone to share it with.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Friday, July 26, 2013