“And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:” (Acts 9:3, AV)
When I was in the printing business, we purchased a light-booth to inspect the color of our printed products. The booth had several lights of a very specific wavelength and the walls were painted a neutral gray to ensure the reflected light was perfect. This was to ensure we could see the printed product properly and any flaws in the color of the printed material. The light is essential to reveal the truth of things, which will prompt a change.
There was a man named Saul of Tarsus. He was an up-and-coming Pharisee making headways in the Jewish religious system. He was a persecutor of the church. He stood by and gave his approval on the stoning of Stephen. He went door-to-door apprehending believers in Jesus and had them imprisoned. As a result, many fled to places outside of Jerusalem and Judea. Some headed towards Damascus. Saul went to the Jewish high priest and got letters of extradition to apprehend them. He sought to bring them back and imprison them or force them to renounce their faith. Then, as Saul was heading down the road to Damascus, he experienced something that changed his life.
As Saul travelled on the road, a light from heaven shone around him. He fell to the ground and he had an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. In this encounter with the light, Saul was blinded. The Lord asks him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:4, AV) This initiated Saul’s conversion to faith in Christ. The Lord instructed him to go to the city and see a man named Ananias.
The Lord also spoke to Ananias in a vision. He told him that a man named Saul would come to his home. Ananias was to lay hands-on Saul so that he would regain his sight. Ananias was concerned because he has heard of Saul of Tarsus and the terror that he was to believers. Yet, he does as the Lord has desired.
In this interaction with the risen Lord, Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of the church, becomes Paul the Apostle, the bold preacher of Christ. It is a miraculous transformation that the Lord directly initiated and orchestrated in Saul and through the ministry of Ananias.
In my days of ministry, I have heard people say things like, “I saved that person.” Really? I believe they seriously overstepped their part in the salvation of a soul. In some way, every person that believes in Jesus has had a personal experience with Jesus. Jesus completely orchestrated his or her salvation. Whether they knew it or not, they were surrounded by the light from heaven, touched by the risen Lord.
The one whom the Lord used to reach the lost soul, in preaching the message of the gospel or ministering in some other way, did not do this of his or her own accord. Just like Ananias, the Lord prompted the person to minister in a way necessary for the person to believe. This prompting is normally through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the power to minister in this situation is also through the ministry of the Spirit.
Thus, we must give all the glory to God for His salvation. He is the author of salvation and He is the one responsible for every person who enters the kingdom. Let us praise God for His great salvation and that He chooses to use us as His instruments in reaching the lost with the message of hope.