Thursday, 5 July 2018

Damascus Miracle

Scriptures: Acts 9 v 1 - 6: "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
 2  And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 
 3  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
 4  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
 5  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
 6  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do."

Saul of Tarsus was a radical Pharisee, totally and utterly against Christianity and the Lord's disciples. He stood by and watched as the first Christian martyr, Stephen, was stoned to death. He was making death threats to those who were of "this way" and obtained permission to travel to Damascus to arrest them.

As he came near to Damascus a heavenly light shone around him and he fell to the ground. That Light was Jesus who asked Saul why he was persecuting Him. Saul trembled before Him and instantly submitted to Jesus saying, Lord what do You want me to do?  Jesus told him to go into Damascus and he would receive further instructions.

Saul was blinded by the Light and his fellow-travellers, who had heard the voice of Jesus but seen nothing, led him to the city.  In Damascus the disciple Ananias had a vision wherein the Lord called his name and he said, I am here Lord. Jesus told him to go to Saul giving him the name and address of where he was staying. Jesus had also given Saul a vision of Ananias praying for him to receive his sight.

Ananias asked the Lord to confirm his mission as he knew that Saul had authority to arrest Christians. Jesus reassured him saying, Saul is a chosen vessel of Mine and will take the gospel message to the Gentiles (non-Jews). So Ananias obeyed and Saul received his sight and was baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Saul (the name means Destroyer) became Paul, meaning Worker, immediately began preaching that Jesus is the Son of God but many were still afraid and wanted to kill him.  He was smuggled out of Damascus and spent 3 years in the wilderness where Jesus taught him the truth about the Law vv Grace; the life lived in the Spirit vv fleshly lusts and thereby turned this learned former enemy into a powerhouse for the Lord.

When did you have your Damascus Road awakening? Jesus has a plan for everyone. Paul had no clue that his determination to arrest Christians would be so powerfully and convincingly interrupted by God Himself. The Pharisee was humbled and his religious pride forever broken. 

Pride is a huge stumbling block to spiritual growth.  It creates a hard, unforgiving, unreachable heart that never admits wrongdoing and always blames others.  God forgives our pride when we get saved, but we need to humble ourselves in order to be a true disciple.

Paul served the people of God because he knew Jesus intimately.   The more we know Him, the more we realise what we are facing in the world today.  There is strong resistance to the truth about Jesus as the world is deceived by end time demonic strategy.  We need to be filled to overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit to withstand this type of deception.

It first looks very appealing like the Apple looked and tasted to Eve in Eden, it lulls us into a false sense of security and seems to increase our knowledge, until the hidden hook in the fine print of Satan's lies brings us under His evil power.  It's called backsliding.  It is strengthened by unbelief as the truth of the gospel of Jesus grows strangely dim. 

Our pride is restored and our hearts are hardened to resist truth and believe lies.  Millions have already been deceived and when the roll is called up yonder and the books of judgment are opened there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth as those who thought they were heaven-bound discover the truth too late.

At the end of his life Paul said, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection."  He was looking toward to this time when that resurrection power would be fully manifested.  This power will enable us to be true witnesses of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It will help to bring back to Him some of those who have fallen. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father it is so important that we have a conversion in our hearts rather than mental assent to Your reality. I pray that every person on Earth will have an opportunity to know You and to have Jesus as Lord and Saviour. In Jesus' name. Amen.