Today's Reading: Acts 9:1-22
Immediately [Paul] preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. (Acts 9:20)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Saul was a good Hebrew. A great Pharisee. A man who was obedient to the Jewish Laws. He would go to the ends of the earth to prove his faithfulness to the Lord. And Saul did so by hunting down Christians and getting rid of them, until the Lord got a hold of him. On the road to Damascus, Saul saw Jesus. And his life would never be the same. Three days later Saul was baptized. Now, as a Christian, the Lord would use Saul (now called Paul) to proclaim the Gospel all over the place.
That's what the Lord does. He calls fishermen and tax collectors to be His apostles. He can even get a hold of a murderer and use him to be an apostle, to proclaim His grace and mercy to Jew and Gentile alike.
Paul would be the first to say that he was a top-notch, on-fire-for-the-Lord sort of religious guy. But he throws it all away to glory in the mercy of Christ which called him from being a murderer to being a preacher. Paul knew a Gospel in which even a murderer could be forgiven by God, and used for His purposes.
Paul is a reminder to us that there is no sin that is so big, so terrible, or so horrible, that Jesus did not die for it. There is no sinner so awful that Jesus cannot convert that person into a believer in Him. So it was with Paul.
It doesn't matter what you have done either: big or small, terrible, awful, horrible, or nasty. Jesus has paid for your sins on Calvary and forgives them. Like Paul, you have been baptized into Christ.
Paul often boasted in the sufferings he experienced, not because he was trying to show off how much he could endure but because he confessed boldly that no matter how weak he was, the Lord could still use him to proclaim Christ. And that's exactly what Jesus did. Through Paul, many were saved, Jews and Gentiles alike. Many heard and believed that Jesus' forgiveness was for them just as this once-murderer-but-now-believer was an example of Jesus' grace. And just as much, that grace and forgiveness are yours, too. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Praise for the light from heaven And for the voice of awe; Praise for the glorious vision The persecutor saw. O Lord, for Paul's conversion, We bless Your name today; Come shine within our darkness, And guide us on our way. (By All Your Saints in Warfare, LSB 517:12)