09 May The Hands of Jesus (Act 9:15-16) by Pastor Don Bird
“But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.'” ~ Acts 9:15-16 (full readings)
Pastor Don’s Reflection: Acts 9:1-20 remind us of a very powerful encounter between Saul and Jesus, an encounter that not only drastically changed Saul’s life, but it changed the course of history. While we often focus on this divine encounter and many devotions and sermons have been written about it, there is another divine encounter that we often overlook. It is the encounter between Jesus and Ananias. Ananias was being asked to do something that was difficult…absurd really. He was to go to a known persecutor of his fellow Christians and lay hands on him that he may be healed and restored. Ananias demonstrated incredible faith and trust in Jesus and he was able to honor the claim that Jesus had on Saul’s life. Without the outstretched hand of Ananias, Saul’s story could have turned out differently. Jesus calls all of us to be His outstretched hand of healing, restoration, and grace…even in the most unimaginable places. He calls us to go to people, upon which He has placed His claim, to show them the love of Jesus and watch as the scales fall from the eyes of their hearts and lives.
…….In the book, Something Beautiful for God, Malcolm Muggeridge shares with us: “I ran away and stayed away; Mother Teresa moved in and stayed. That was the difference. She, a nun, rather slightly built, with a few rupees in her pocket; not particularly clever, or particularly gifted in the arts of persuasion. Just with this Christian love shining about her; in her heart and on her lips. Just prepared to follow her Lord, and in accordance with his instructions regard every derelict left to die in the streets as him; to hear in the cry of every abandoned child, even in the tiny squeak of the discarded fetus, the cry of the Bethlehem child; to recognize in every leper’s stumps the hands which once touched sightless eyes and made them see, rested on distracted heads and made them calm, brought back health to sick flesh and twisted limbs. As for my expiations on Bengal’s wretched social conditions – I regret to say that I doubt whether, in any divine accounting, they will equal one single quizzical half smile bestowed by Mother Teresa on a street urchin who happened to catch her eye.”
* Pastor Don Bird is the Lead Pastor at Hope United Methodist Church in Greenwood Village, CO. He lives in Aurora, CO with his wife of 17 years, Mandy, and his two children, Ethan and Haleigh.
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