Bespectacled since preschool and eye-allergic since tween-dom, I understand the importance of sight. Last winter I had a ridiculous few months of ugly eye issues, recurrent upper respiratory infections that lodged in my peepers, and come to find out I am allergic to maybe every prescription and non-prescription eye remedy or salve. And apparently most cosmetics to boot. Eyes are precious. Vision is a gift.
I imagine Saul understood the importance of vision, too, especially after a life- and history-changing encounter with Jesus blinded him for three days, during which he made the very good decision to fast and pray, to humble himself and seek a new relationship with God.
Saul, arguably the most zealous Jew in history, thought he was all about God’s kingdom on earth. Convinced he was doing the work of the Lord, he attempted to eradicate the heretical movement of Jesus-followers. He couldn’t see that God was doing a new thing, that in fact he was working against God and not for Him. He needed a new vision.
And then there’s Ananias, who likely didn’t want the vision of Jesus he had, sent to initiate Saul – notorious Christian killer – into the family of Christians. I can’t begin to imagine the fear and trembling Ananias endured as he walked to the house of Judas on Damascus’ Straight Street. And yet, to be the first to witness God’s radical transformation of Saul, to see up close and personal this dramatic conversion, to be the one God used to welcome “Brother Saul” into the fold… How must that have redoubled Ananias’ faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?
How often do we who claim to follow Christ work for Him without consulting Him as to His purposes? Do we replace time with Jesus with work for Jesus? I know I do – I can get really busy doing God’s work without asking if that’s what God wants. And when I see Jesus anew, am I faithful to obey Him no matter the risk?
I need both a new vision of Jesus and courage to follow through. Everyday.
Reflect on a time when you held an opinion about someone and later found out you’d misjudged them. What did you learn from that experience?
Read Acts 9:1-9, 17-22.
Compare Saul at the beginning and end of this passage. How is he the same? How has he changed?
Describe Saul’s “experience” of Jesus (vv. 3-9). What did he and his companions actually see and hear? (cf: Acts 22:6-9 and 26:12-18)
What role does Ananias play in Saul’s conversion (vv. 17-19)?
Would you describe your own conversion as “meeting Jesus”? Why or why not? What events or people were instrumental in that encounter?
Is there someone for whom God has given you (like Ananias for Saul) a vision or burden to help ‘open their eyes’ to Jesus?
Whom are you more like today: Saul before—in need of a new vision of Jesus? Saul after—with a newly discovered passion? Or Ananias—whom God is asking to step out in faith? Explain.
What is Jesus saying to you through this passage and how will you respond?
Pray for God to open your eyes to a new vision of Jesus, and pray for opportunities to introduce others to Jesus.