Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CALL (01/14/16)
- TITLE: Stopped
By Stanley McMahon
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It was dark in the room and his head hurt. The light had blinded him. He hadn’t seen it coming. Thought it would just be another routine route of the believers in the Way. They were a threat to Judaism and everything that he held dear. Nothing to do but destroy them.
But in an instant everything changed. He was no longer the man in charge. He was led the rest of the road to a house prepared for him. Three days of blindness awaited him. Straight Street. It was an appropriate name, he thought. The Lord Jesus had been very straight with him. ‘Why are you persecuting Me?’ The words played over and over in his mind.
He was glad of the cool room and the extraordinary kindness displayed by the followers if the Way, the gentle spirit, the water and the bread. He was glad of being on his own. He had to think through everything. This blinding experience gave him time to do that.
He realised it had to be radical. Nothing else would have stopped him on his mission. Nothing but a miracle, a voice from heaven with light that pierced the darkness of his mind. He was wrong. Terribly wrong. That was the first thing he had to come to terms with. Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. He was the Messiah; the Salvation of God the Jews had been waiting for.
Everything he had trained for, the long days and nights of studying with Gamaliel, the memorising of the Holy Scriptures now had to be used in a completely different direction. He was sorry for the persecution and the hurt he had caused. He remembered Stephen and his own haughty attitude as he stood back proudly and watched as the others stoned the man. He had held their coats.
He realised that he would be the persecuted one and would follow his new Master all the way, leading thousands to new life instead of certain death. As he worked through his theology and repented and prayed, praised and wept, the forgiveness of Jesus swept over him. His life, his destiny, his work had changed forever.
He was not alone in his room. He was there with God. He listened and planned and after the initial understanding came the utter dedication. He had seen the light, but more importantly he had seen the Lord. He would spread the Word. He would strategize, he would use his teaching skills and his great knowledge. He would write. He would travel. He would have to decentralise Jerusalem if he was going to reach the ends of the earth with the Gospel. He would choose Antioch, the second city of the Roman Empire and not far from where he had grown up.
He slept and dreamed and had a vision of the future. On the third day he was ready. Humbled, forever grateful, and changed by this amazing God whom he thought he known, but really, had been so caught up with his own righteousness he had failed to see the truth of who he was and what he had been doing.
The knock on the door did not come unexpectedly. He was ready for the rest of his life. The timid stranger came in, half sceptical, half excited to see the new phenomenon that was Saul. ‘Brother,’ he said, and he meant it. Ananias touched his eyes and his blindness was removed. Strengthened by food, by the three days of transformation and by his new identity, he boldly emerged from the room. The rest is history.
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