"Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked. 'I am Jesus, who you are persecuting,' he replied." Acts 9:1-5
Persecution is nothing new for Christians. Christians have been persecuted from the very beginning. It shouldn't surprise us that persecution is still happening today. Jesus told us in John 15:18-19, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." In the book of Acts, we see Saul, a persecutor of Christians. He did anything and everything he had to do to arrest Christians, and he even stood by and watched some of them executed because of their faith. In Acts 9, something happened to Saul. Actually, Someone happened. The light of Jesus changed everything for Saul. On his way to persecute more Christians, he had a face to face encounter with Jesus. Verse 7 says that the men who were with Saul "stood there speechless." The Lord told Ananias that Saul was praying, and He told Ananias that Saul was his "chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of the Israel," in verse 15. Ananias had head about Saul, and he could have been filled with fear and/or anger because of Saul's persecution of Christians. However, Ananias trusted God. He obeyed God. And the rest is history. Saul becomes one of the greatest preachers in the New Testament, proclaiming Jesus to the far ends of the earth. The light of Jesus made a difference!
The light of Jesus is still making a difference today! Jesus is still calling people to Himself, calling people to share the gospel to the far ends of the earth. Jesus isn't just calling good people and qualified people. He is calling all people, which includes wretched people...persecutors. We need to understand today that there is no one who is too far for God to reach. We need to understand today that we as Christ followers, like Ananias, will be called by God to reach out to those who persecute us. We must trust God completely and obey Him by putting aside our fears and/or anger towards those who persecute us and our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must share the gospel to everyone God places in our paths. We must reflect the light of Jesus to everyone. It is the light of Jesus that changes everything. It is the light of Jesus that makes the difference! Believe it! Claim it! Live it!