Join us this summer as we read the Bible together as a community! Read the brief devotional, reflect on Scripture, spend a few moments in prayer, journal about the reflection questions, and interact with us through the Comments feature. We pray this is a meaningful time of spiritual growth and community building for our Breathe sisters!
Paul had an outstanding resume for a Jewish person in the first century. Not only was he devout and upstanding in his faith, he was also a Roman citizen and a Pharisee. When we first meet Paul, he’s holding coats for the mob of Jews who stoned the apostle Stephen (Acts 7:58).
Paul’s Jewish upbringing taught him that we are made right with God by following a strict set of rules. If you followed the rules, you were righteous. If you didn’t, you weren’t.
After encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul’s view of righteousness was forever changed. Paul had been killing Christians for preaching Jesus as the son of God and the only way to heaven. Turns out, they were right. We’re made right in God’s eyes by accepting Jesus as our savior, not because of anything we do or have done (Ephesians 2:8-9).
When Paul began preaching this message saying that salvation came from Christ and not our own behavior, it rocked the religious world. He would go on to share the gospel with thousands of non-Jews all over the known world. Only a change of heart can lead to a lasting change in behavior.
1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”
5 “Who are You, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So, they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to Your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.”
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to proclaim My name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
1) Are you a rule follower at heart? What is it about following rules that we find so attractive?
2) Do you struggle with the idea that you can’t earn Salvation? Why or why not?
3) Grace changed Paul forever. How has God’s grace already changed you?
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