Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Brother, Saul..."

Recently, during our regular Wednesday night Bible study, our Pastor covered Acts 9. For us, looking back on Acts as ancient history, we know the "rest of the story" and interpret what we read based on what we know will happen. However, if we open our eyes of understanding and really look at what is happening in this section of Christian history, we see the very first steps in the transformation of a young Christian persecutor named Saul into the Christian hero he became as "Paul."

In this passage, Ananias, seemingly a side note in Paul's testimony, steps out in tremendous faith, to take a message of hope and forgiveness to a man responsible for so much evil. We know Saul's heart had already been changed. We know all the amazing things he would do for the name of Christ. The miracles he would perform, the sermons he would preach, the Inspired letters he would write. We know that Jesus had already performed a miracle in his life, but Ananias only knew that God had a plan for Saul.

When he goes to the home where a blinded Saul--broken and probably afraid--has found temporary refuge, Ananias utters one of the most beautiful phrases in all of Scripture: he calls Saul "brother." There are no recriminations. No demands for apologies or explanations. God has told Ananias that Saul is now His chosen vessel, and Ananias treats him as such.

The lesson we learn from Ananias is that God is not concerned with our past, except in how He has used it to lead us to Him. He is concerned with our future. Because of Ananias' faith in action, Saul/Paul could later write from personal experience, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Take heart! Don't allow the past to become a stumbling block to your future. Know with assurance that "all things are become new"!