When they heard him address them in Aramaic, they became even more quiet. Paul continued, “I’m a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia but raised in this city. Under Gamaliel’s instruction, I was trained in the strict interpretation of our ancestral Law. I am passionately loyal to God, just like you who are gathered here today. I harassed those who followed this Way to their death, arresting and delivering both men and women into prison. The high priest and the whole Jerusalem Council can testify about me. I received letters from them, addressed to our associates in Damascus, then went there to bring those who were arrested to Jerusalem so they could be punished.
“During that journey, about noon, as I approached Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven encircled me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice asking me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you harassing me?’ I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are harassing,’ he replied. My traveling companions saw the light, but they didn’t hear the voice of the one who spoke to me. I asked, ‘What should I do, Lord?’ ‘Get up,’ the Lord replied, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told everything you have been appointed to do.’ I couldn’t see because of the brightness of that light, so my companions led me by the hand into Damascus.
“There was a certain man named Ananias. According to the standards of the Law, he was a pious man who enjoyed the respect of all the Jews living there. He came and stood beside me. ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ he said. Instantly, I regained my sight and I could see him. He said, ‘The God of our ancestors has selected you to know his will, to see the righteous one, and to hear his voice. You will be his witness to everyone concerning what you have seen and heard. What are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, and wash away your sins as you call on his name.’
Questions to Ponder:
Are there times when you hear God calling you to action but you fail to heed the call? When you are making important decisions about your life, do you ask, “What should I do, Lord?” If you find yourself questioning your faith, do you shut out the noise of the world and listen for God’s direction?
Prayer for Today:
Gracious and all-knowing God, help me to rely on your wisdom when I am confused. Help me to remember that I need only ask for your aid to receive it. Thank you for your unending love for me during both the joys and sorrows of my life. Amen.