Third Sunday of Easter
May 1, 2022
Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 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. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
The men who were travelling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”
But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
Something to Do
While you may not be sent to heal someone who has been “breathing threats and murder” against you, is there someone who needs your care even though they have given you good reason to not trust them? Do something kind for that person or, if it is not safe or you do not have access to them, include them in your prayers this week and ask God to bring them healing and the help they need.
Enter the story
This is another one of those stories with wonderful characters and a fast-paced plot. Read it again and simply enjoy it a a short story. Imagine the inner states of Saul and of Ananias as the story progresses. Imagine the greeting Saul received when he began preaching in the synagogues. Write an additional scene to the story, either expanding on the relationship between Saul and Ananias or Saul’s encounters in the synagogue.
Something to Wonder
Take some time in prayer and ask God if there is something you have got really wrong. This error could be political or personal or spiritual. If there is, admit it and work to change your mind and your behaviour.
The power of resurrection
This story is, ultimately, a resurrection story. Saul dies to his old beliefs and his old ways and is reborn with a new purpose: to bring the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles.
Have you every experienced rebirth to a new purpose? Did something have to die for that to happen?
Have you ever resisted rebirth? Why?
Do you think you may be being called to rebirth now? What may need to die for you to follow that call?`
Something to Learn
Saul (Paul) of Tarsus
The oldest texts in the New Testament are the letters written by Saul, called Paul in most of the Biblical record (including Acts after chapter 13). These letters shaped not just the communities they were addressed to but the development of the entire faith. Learn more about the work and faith of Paul.
The PBS series, From Jesus to Christ, includes a wonderful set of mini-essays and interviews with a variety of scholars on Paul’s Mission and Letters.
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.