It was when Paul was addressing the Jewish people, of whom wanted to kill him, that he told him of his conversion story. That is when he was approaching the city of Damascus and “suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.” (Acts 22:6-10) It was at this point that we learn that once Saul, who would soon be called Paul, heard that it was Jesus in the light, he called Him Lord also. And in doing this, he asked Him what he was calling him to do. What a great example of faith, all the hatred toward the saints and Jesus was gone in an instant, and now he was willing to give up everything to serve the Lord, his God. Each one of us has our own personal encounters with the Lord, though it may not be physical like Paul’s experience. Most of us may have a simple experience that has led us to give up our wicked ways and follow Jesus. And so we remember and do as Paul did and do what God calls us to.
It was later that Paul received his sight after Ananias prayed over him. It was then that Ananias said the following to him, “the God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:14-16) We learn that Paul was chosen to be God’s disciple and apostle on earth. And because of this, he was advised to continue to listen to the voice of Jesus, the Just One, who is Lord. He would do this by following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Now, what is fascinating about this whole encounter is that he was advised to be baptized. And for what reason? That his sins may be washed away. If he was to do this, while also calling upon the name of the Lord, Jesus, he would be forgiven and made right in God’s sight. Now, did Paul do what Ananias said and was baptized? Yes, he did. It was recorded, while he was receiving his sight that “immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.” (Acts 9:18) So is baptism important? Yes it is. This is when we die to our old life and are raised up into newness of life in Christ Jesus. In doing so, our sins are forgiven. Praise God.
Let us pray:
Oh Lord, I pray that we will learn from scripture and follow the examples of people we read about. Of course, following Your perfect example for us, Jesus, is the most important of all, but others also that You were leading is also great. I see what Paul did when You called him to be your witness in all the world as a great example for us in the faith. I love how he responded so favorably to Your calling for his life and simply ran with it. It would be awesome to see others in the faith with the same ambition that Paul had as an evangelist. Also, when he was advised to be baptized for the remission of sins, he jumped at it. This shows great faith and a willingness to do whatever he was called to do. I just pray that we will also receive You as Lord of our lives and also be baptized if we haven’t been already. So many people, even pastors, now downplay the importance of baptism and make it not important anymore. Lord, I have had way too many conversations with people who are convinced that nobody needs to be baptized any longer, and when we do it is simply taking a bath and nothing more. To these people, I ask, Lord, that You will open their eyes to verses all throughout the New Testament, like in Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:37-40, Acts 22:14-16, Romans 6:3-6, Galatians 3:24-27, and many others. You told us to also to believe and be baptized, and we shall be saved. No wonder why baptism was emphasized all throughout the rest of the books of the New Testament after You ascended up into heaven. Surely, Your disciples continued Your work on earth, as we should be continuing today. This I pray, Lord, will happen. Continue Your work as it is in heaven. I love You, God. Amen.