Paul, author of 13 books in the New Testament, understood the grace of God intimately. Before becoming a Jesus follower, we know he was a persecutor of the Christians in Jerusalem. His hatred and brutality were known far and wide. He was a brilliant scholar but also what some would call a religious terrorist. In Acts 8 you read, But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. He was known and feared. Yet what happened on the road to Damascus?
The Road to Damascus
In Acts 22:7-9 comes Paul’s account: I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, “Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” I asked. “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. Saul is blinded by the bright light sent from heaven. His friends had to take him to Damascus where he met a man named Ananias, who told him, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you… You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.”
Because of Paul, families were torn apart. He was vicious, brutal, merciless and had blood on his hands for the countless Christians he had tortured and murdered. Paul admits, “…intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. Yet the overwhelming power of God’s grace transformed Paul, taking him from murderer to missionary overnight. Only Jesus can do this, and if He can do it for a blasphemous murderer, He can do it for anyone.
Paul wrote in Colossians 1:6, In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.
Paul became one of the greatest missionaries in the entire world. That’s the transformative power of gospel grace. As a member of the International Prayer Council, we are committed to praying for restricted nations, that God’s glory may be seen. The Father wants to lavish His great love on each one of us. Is there someone you know who has not yet understood God’s grace? Pray for them by name right now.
Let’s pray, Father, none of us are worthy of your grace, mercy and love. We know it is by your grace we are saved through faith–we have done nothing to deserve it. We lift up those who may even right now be a persecuting your Church. We ask that you supernaturally visit them as you did Paul; that they will be transformed by the power of your Spirit and instead of hating you will become sold-out followers just like Paul. In Jesus name we pray Amen.