#DailyDevotion The Lord Has A Plan For You & It Includes Suffering
Act 9:15-22 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. (16) For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” (17) So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (18) And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; (19) and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. (20) And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” (21) And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” (22) But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
God had a plan for Saul. While God does have a plan for your life, you shouldn’t be thinking he has some big plan for your life where you might be rich, famous or impacting the world in some great big recognized way. That is not the point of this text. But yes, God does also have a plan for your life also. The Lord’s plan for Saul’s life was to be an evangelist, an apostle to the Gentiles, kings and to Israel for the name of Jesus. Saul had been zealous for the Law of Moses and the tradition of the elders, even willing to kill for that witness to them. Now Jesus will have him be willing to suffer and even die for his name.
Jesus’ tells pastor Ananias, “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” Now is Jesus being vindictive here? Well, no. Jesus says concerning all his disciples, Mat 10:38-39 “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (39) Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Jesus also says, Mat 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” Paul would find this out as we see when he writes, 2Co 1:5 “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” Paul no doubt was told what Jesus had told Ananias by Ananias. He writes, Php 3:10 “I… may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…” So no, Jesus was not being vindictive and Paul, considered it an honor to suffer for the name of Jesus.
Now Pastor Ananias did as Jesus commanded. He laid hands on Saul and healed him. He baptized Saul for the forgiveness of his sins. (Acts 22:16) Saul was reborn of the Holy Spirit, regenerated in baptism and became Paul. He would indeed be Jesus’ witness and proclaim Jesus is the Son of God. Having been trained in the Old Testament scriptures he preached from them how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies contained therein and was their Savior, Lord and King and that forgiveness of sins, life and salvation were found in Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, buried, risen from the dead and sits at the right hand of God in power.
This same Jesus indeed has also called you to faith in him today. He calls you to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the Holy Spirit. As his disciple you also will suffer for his name sake but you will also receive with Christ eternal life and share in his glory. Find another Pastor Ananias and have him give to you what he gave to Saul, the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.
Merciful Lord Jesus Christ, even as you called your servant Saul to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, be a witness of your life and suffer for your name’s sake, continually give us pastors who will feed us with your Word, bestow upon us your sacraments, and preserve us in faith through all suffering even death, that we may attain to the resurrection of the righteous on the day of your return. In your precious name we pray. Amen.