Do you remember the people who were always arguing with Jesus? The ones who turned Him over to the Romans to be killed? They were the Pharisees. They talked a lot about serving God. But they weren’t as interested in loving God. Or in being loved by Him. Instead, they spent all their time memorizing rules…hundreds of them. And they were often too busy thinking about the rules to think about God, or talk to Him, or listen to Him when He was right in front of them.
One of those Pharisees was a man named Saul. He didn’t like that people were still talking about Jesus after He had risen and returned to Heaven. He hoped people would just forget about Jesus and go back to the way things were before. But they didn’t…So Saul did everything he could to hurt Jesus’ followers.
One day, Saul was traveling between cities. Suddenly there was a bright light. It was so bright, Saul couldn’t see, so he covered his eyes and fell to the ground. He heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you attacking me?” Saul didn’t know who was talking. “Who are you?” “I’m Jesus. When you attack My followers, you attack Me. Instead, you need to join them and follow Me, too.”
The people with Saul heard everything, but they couldn’t see the bright light that Saul did.
When Saul got up, he was blind. His friends led him to the city. For three days Saul couldn’t see, and he didn’t eat or drink anything.
Jesus spoke to one of His followers named Ananias. “Go find Saul,” Jesus told him. “I will tell you where he is staying and I want you to go and heal him so he can see again.”
Ananias was afraid. Wasn’t this the same man who was attacking all of Jesus’ followers? Wasn’t he the one trying to arrest anyone who believed in Jesus and shared about Him with others? Why would God want Ananias to go see him? Surely, Jesus had plenty of loyal followers who could serve Him much better than this awful person?
But Jesus wanted to show the world that anyone’s heart could change. Even someone who hated hearing about Jesus could come to love Him.
When Ananias got to the house where Saul was staying, he told him that Jesus had sent him. “Jesus is the One who appeared to you on the road,” Ananias explained. “He wants you to see again and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Then it felt like fish scales were falling off of Saul’s eyes. He could finally see again after three days of darkness. He ate and felt much better.
His life was about to completely change!
From that day on, Saul told everyone about Jesus. He had changed, just like a caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly. He helped Jesus’ followers and wrote lots of letters encouraging everyone to follow God and love each other. He was a perfect example of just how much a person can turn around. After spending so many years memorizing all the rules of the Bible, so he could catch Jewish people forgetting their own laws, he spent most of his time talking to people who didn’t even know what a Bible is. He even stopped using his Jewish name and went by his Roman name instead: Paul.