Daily Readings & Thought for May 1st. “BEHOLD HE IS PRAYING”
How full of zeal Paul was – as a result of his human perceptions of what really mattered in life – a zeal which had two sides!
One was self exaltation and the praise of his fellow men who agreed with his cause – the other side – was to destroy this movement which was threatening the authority of the powerful Jewish Priesthood. Paul was an exceptional example of human nature which sees situations in clear black and white! And yet it was such a personality as his that God could use for the needs of this special era. The same as
Moses was a special personality called to serve God in the creation of his nation – and we are currently reading his final and powerful message to Israel in Deuteronomy. Paul’s life – all he thought he stood for – was turned upside down.
Our chapter today (Acts 9) tells us of him being led blind into Damascus; what intensity of thought occupied his mind! The voice that came as he fell blind to the ground said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting” [v.5] We ourselves should meditate on the significance of those words! Jesus was “in” every believer Paul was persecuting. Paul learnt this and states this in various ways, again and again in his letters:” “God has sent the spirit of his son into our hearts.” (Gal. 4 v.6)
This is not just a theological concept but an awesome reality if we are truly “walking” with him. He told the Ephesians, “… now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (5 v.8) Paul at this stage called Saul, (his Hebrew name) was led by the hand into Damascus “and for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (v.9) The Lord comes to a disciple named Ananias “in a vision” telling him where to go and “look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold he is praying” (v.11)
How intense those prayers must have been! Ananias comes to him, his sight returns, “then he arose and was baptized … and immediately proclaimed Jesus” (v.18,20) How earnest are our prayers? How absolute was Paul’s sense of need – followed by a sense of utter appreciation of God’s mercy. What do we “sense” in thought when we pray? How strong is our sense of need whether we are baptized or not?