Picture it, a preacher crying out to people trying to warn them to change their ways, telling the crowd that was gathered around him “you have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it!” He was being very brave to tell that angry mob the truth!
It makes me wonder if I could be so brave?
When the crowd heard these words, they were “cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth”. As Stephen was preaching to them he saw the heavens open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God! The crowd began to scream and yell and ran at him with “one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him.”
Here is where I am coming into my point! Verse 58 of chapter 7 of Acts, “And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.” Chapter 8 says that Saul was consenting to his (Stephen’s) death. Needless to say, Saul was a devout law keeper, a Pharisee, and the best of them all. He had studied for fourteen years at the feet of the most admired teacher, Gamaliel, who knew the law to the last “jot and tittle“. It was Saul’s main purpose in life to persecute the people of “the Way“, to drag them out of their homes, men, women and children, no mercy!
Now picture another scene, a dusty road near Damascus, here we see the man Saul who had held the coats of people who were stoning Stephen… but something amazing happened to him! He saw a light that was so bright that he fell to the ground and then heard a voice saying to him “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” At this point he recognized a power that he had never known and this angry, self righteous, murderous man was changed dramatically, forever changed. The people were so afraid of him, they couldn’t believe that he had really changed and they thought it was a trick to trap them! God spoke to Ananias in a vision and told him to go to Saul but Ananias argued and didn’t want to do it because he knew Saul’s reputation of killing people who followed the Way, but again God spoke, Acts 9:15 “Don’t argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to non-Jews and kings and Jews. And now I’m about to show him what he’s in for—the hard suffering that goes with this job.”
With his spiritual change he was also given a new name change! Saul was renamed Paul and he went on to write most of our New Testament!
So what’s with YOU? You’ve been so bad that you can’t change? So evil or wretched that God cannot change you? If God can change Saul the murderous Pharisee, to Paul, the greatest teacher we will ever know aside from Jesus, then you would certainly not be a problem for Him!
What do you need changed?
Whatever it is, give it all to the Lord Jesus and let Him change YOUR name, make you a brand-new creation! This is not just for “sinners” but for those of us who have things happening every day that we feel we just cannot overcome!
See the light and say, “Here I am Lord, and I am listening!”