Saul was zealous in his pursuit to stamp out Christianity and to punish anyone who shared the gospel of Jesus Christ. “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest” (Acts 9:1). I am intrigued by the fact that Jesus stopped him right in his tracks. While on his way to do the very thing which was against the people of God, he had an encounter with Jesus. Saul would be the last person that most of us would consider worthy of a divine visitation. Even the disciple Ananias was weary about Saul and cautious when God asked him to meet and pray with him.
“But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem” (Acts 9:13). The Lord’s response was go, for he is a chosen vessel of mine. God planned to use him to spread the gospel among Kings and the children of Israel. Why Saul; would be the question on the minds of most people? Why choose the main antagoniser of the church? Some Christians would pray for God to strike him dead. He did fall off his horse when Jesus appeared to him but this was from the light which shone from heaven.
When Ananias met with Saul, he greeted him as ‘brother Saul.’ Ananias had come to lay hands on him so that he could receive the Holy Spirit and have his sight restored. Immediately the scales fell from his eyes, his sight was restored and he was baptised. “And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God”” (Acts 9:20). The people who heard Saul proclaim Jesus as Lord were amazed. This was the same man who came to their city with the intention of arresting disciples and taking them to the Chief Priest.
Saul’s message of salvation was so strong and powerful that the Jews tried to kill him. What Jesus saw in Saul and he wanted to use was his zeal and passion. The same zeal and conviction which Paul used to persecute the church was transferred into his mission in spreading the gospel. I am glad that we don’t get to choose who God uses because a lot of people would be disqualified. God chooses who he wants to use and he determines who is qualified for a place in his kingdom. We cannot write people off and try to determine who is worthy of a place in the kingdom of God. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).