Acts of the Apostles
Part 2: Strategies for Evangelization
Chapter 5 • What’s God’s Mission for Your Life? (Acts 9:1-19)
Do you think God has a specific mission for your life? What is the best way to discover what that mission is?
As we saw earlier, Saul (known later as St. Paul) consented to the death of the first martyr, St. Stephen (Acts 8:1). He also scattered the Christians to Judea and Samaria through his persecutions. Now he takes center stage as he goes to Damascus to persecute the Christians there.
Damascus is about 130 miles north of Jerusalem. It was the commercial center of the Roman Empire and the intersection of many important trade routes. Saul wants to try to make sure Christianity doesn’t spread to the many Jews who live in the Jewish diaspora along these trade routes, after seeing how quickly the Christian faith spread in Jerusalem (Acts 2:41; Acts 2:47; Acts 4:4).
Let’s look at the mission God gives Saul in Acts 9 during his conversion.
1 Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. 3 On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. 9 For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.
10 There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, 12 and [in a vision] he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay [his] hands on him, that he may regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, 16 and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.” 17 So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, 19 and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.
He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
- If you were in this situation, how would you react?
- Who do you identify with more in this chapter, St. Paul or Ananias? Why?
- Think of the most outspoken critic of Christianity in your nation. What would be the impact if they had a conversion?
- Do you think that God has given you a specific mission in your life?
*Adapted from FOCUS