“The Way”

On April 28, Pastor Jim preaches on Acts 9:1-6.

1 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”

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Blinded by the light
Revved up like a deuce
Another runner in the night
— Manford Mann and the Earth Band

This song hit No. 1 when I was in high school. I wasn’t much of a fan mainly because I couldn’t figure out what the heck the song was about. Actually, I couldn’t understand many of the words. This was before Google so none of us could look it up. There was much confusion.

This Sunday we will think together about the time Saul was literally blinded by the light. “Seeing the light” has become a catchphrase to describe the moment when someone—for example, Jake or Elwood Blues—finally gets it. It’s a moment of clarity.

As I read Acts Chapter 9, I realize that I’ve been misreading the story all along. Saul wasn’t changed when he saw the light, but rather, he was blinded. He was not converted or transformed; he was in darkness. His companions led him by the hand into Damascus, where he lived without food or water or sight for three days.

What finally changed Saul from brutal tormenter of the church into the Apostle Paul? Read on in the text. Jesus used a Christian named Ananias, who very nervously answered the call and went to see him. He laid hands on Saul, called him brother, and said that Jesus had sent him. Suddenly, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes; he was filled with the Holy Spirit. He took some food, and after spending several days with the disciples in Damascus, he began preaching Jesus in the synagogues. Wow!

Oh, the power of relationships!

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