The Man Who Made Havoc, Acts 9:1-22

May 12, 2022 By: Damien Garofalo Topic: Sermon Devotional Scripture: Acts 9:1-22

And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 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?  (Acts 9:20-21 ESV)

Reading the early chapters of the Book of Acts can be quite an encouraging experience for the believer. Chapter after chapter, the gospel marches on, through the church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, dismantling worldly systems and converting individual souls. At this point in our text, the apostolic church certainly faced her share of opposition, but she continued following her Lord’s lead, starting in Jerusalem and extending into Samaria and beyond.

One of the biggest sources of opposition to the early church was a Pharisee named Saul. We first encountered him in chapter 7, as he presided over the death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Chapter 8 tells us he made havoc in the church, and his persecution of Christians forced them from Jerusalem and into Samaria. 

Saul, quite the zealous, law-keeping Pharisee, likely thought that he was on God’s side, trying to stamp out the heretical followers of the fraud, Jesus of Nazareth, who couldn’t possibly be the Messiah, because the Messiah would not die on a cross. To do so is to be cursed by God.

But Saul was wrong. Dead wrong. 

He knew the scriptures, but he didn’t understand them like the thought he did. He feared God, but he didn’t believe in him as he ought. He knew of Jesus of Nazareth, but he refused to submit to his Lordship.

Until one day. 

Jesus himself, who, according to Saul’s later testimony separated him from before birth, shone his glory in Saul’s face, revealing himself to him, and completely changed his life forever.

The man who made havoc on the church would very quickly become the man who made havoc on the kingdom of darkness through the church. Only God can make such a change in someone’s life!

Join us this Sunday as we recount the wonderful conversion of Saul, the man who would become known as the Apostle Paul. And as you think of this amazing story, consider how you identify with Saul. No, we’re not all Pharisees, but we all have a degree of self-righteousness in our hearts. No, we’re not all murderous persecutors of the church, but we have all committed murder through anger in are hearts. Like Saul, we were blinded, wrong, and self-deceived. And it took an amazing act of God to deliver us from death to life.

If God can change a terrorist into a missionary, he can change anyone. Our God is mighty to save!