Day 29 – Radical transformations

Act 9:19-31 (NLT)

Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. 20 And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!” 21 All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?” 22 Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. 23 After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. 24 They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. 25 So during the night, some of the other believers lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall. 26 When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! 27 Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus. 28 So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He debated with some Greek- speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. 30 When the believers heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown. 31 The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.

The church had a super hard time in coming to terms with Saul’s transformation. For those who had witnessed miracles, it was almost easier to believe in them than this radical life metamorphosis. Here was this crazed Christian hater, a religious zealot, turned God lover seemingly overnight and they didn’t know how to handle it.  The Resurrection ushered in a new era of power for the freshly minted church and her people were slowly learning to flow with it and understand it. In their minds, it seemed easier to heal a sick and broken body than to transform a hardened and deeply crusted heart. My prayer is that you and I would never question either, but as with the early church, we would learn to not only understand them, but to expect them to manifest all around us.