July 11th 2009

Saul Is Baptized

5 of 12 studies taken from Acts 7 to Acts 14

“For three days he (Saul) was blind, and did not eat or drink anything…Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptised, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus”
Acts 9:9, 17-19 (NIV UK)

The scales that fell from Paul’s eyes were both literal and metaphorical.  Literal in that his physical sight was restored; metaphorical in that his spiritual blindness was over.  He could see clearly now that he needed the Christ whom he had persecuted and that his past life had been going the wrong direction.  As he later put it, God “was pleased to reveal his son in me” (Galatians 1:15-16).

When God reveals to us who Jesus is we should repent.  To repent means to turn to God, and to put away our past way of life.  Ananias told Saul, “And now what are you waiting for?  Get up, be baptised and wash your sins away, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16).  Despite being “thoroughly trained in the law” and “zealous for God” (22:3), Saul still needed salvation.  Perhaps during his fast Saul had reflected on himself and his life and had analyzed his false assumptions.  Neither observing the law nor his zeal had washed away his sins.  It was only by surrendering to Jesus and calling on his name that Saul could be saved because “salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (4:12):  Jesus is the Way.

As a sign of and a witness to his repentance Saul was baptized.  In his letter to the Romans he would write of how through baptism believers participate visibly and symbolically in Christ’s death and resurrection:  “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (6:4).  Having thus committed himself to Jesus Christ, Saul received and was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Let’s remember the commitment we made at baptism.  And, if you have not yet been baptized, what are you waiting for?

Holy Father, thank you for the life change that your Son, Jesus, has begun in me.  Thank you that, as in the story of Saul, the scales have fallen spiritually from my eyes and now I can see!

Study by James Henderson