It is quite remarkable how after the devastation of a bushfire that it is not long before life once again begins. It is quite delightful seeing new shoots of growth popping up in the blackened soil. I find it remarkable to see that through a bushfire plant seeds are scattered far and wide and they end up in the most unlikely places! Soon these same plant seeds take root, germinate and blossom into something quite beautiful. This is the scene that we see before us today in our Bible reading from Acts 8-9. Great persecution grew against the Jerusalem church! The church was under attack as Saul sought to purge it and imprison those who aligned themselves with Jesus. We are told that only the apostles remained as people were thrown into jail as thousands departed the great city.
Luke only spends a few verses sharing this with us. He writes so much more about how the church began to take root in Judea and Samaria as the Christians shared what they had heard and seen with all they met. Luke focuses his attention on the ministry of just one of these Christians. His name was Phillip and he was one of the seven deacons appointed to care for the Greek widows. He took over where Stephen left off and had an amazing ministry amongst the much hated and despised Samaritans. The account of his ministry is impressive reading and offers us great insight into how God can use an ordinary man for His glory. What we do note in this passage of Scripture is God’s sovereignty and how He overrules the plans of evil men!
The other quite astounding event that Luke records is the conversion of the evil persecutor Saul. What a turn of events!
Who would have predicted this? Yet why should we be surprised? God chooses the most unlikely people to be His servants! Jesus chose Saul to be the man to take the thrust of the gospel to the nations! Saul – the persecutor of the church! This ruthless, murderous and troublesome man! There is so much in these two chapters that should bring excitement and wonder to your heart. And then there is Ananias who was asked to go and meet Saul – the very man who came to Damascus to capture and imprison Christians like him. Isn’t it great to know God and marvel at all He does!