THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
COMMISSIONED TO PREACH THE GOSPEL – 11
May 10, 2019
Today’s reading: Acts 9:1-20
What makes for an evangelizer and missionary, especially one
living in worldly ways? It is an encounter with Jesus that
results in conversion. The pattern is the same for all: meet
Christ, start to live Christ, then share Christ.
was the same with Saul, who became Paul. He was steeped in
darkness and sin, even greatly persecuting Christians, but
then became a great apostle. It started with a dramatic encounter
with Jesus. On the road to Damascus, in search of Christians
to imprison, a light flashed, he fell to the ground, and heard
a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
(v.4). Saul asked, “‘Who are you, sir?’
The reply came, ‘I am Jesus’” (v.5).
was the start of Saul’s conversion. And what a turnaround
it was! From “breathing murderous threats against the
disciples of the Lord” (v.1) to going “to proclaim
Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.”
(v.20). From being an instrument of the chief priests “to
imprison all who call upon (Jesus’) name” (v.14)
to becoming “a chosen instrument of (Jesus) to carry
(his) name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites.”
(v.15). From being blinded from the truth and filled with
rage against God’s people, with “what evil things
he has done to (God’s) holy ones” (v.13) to being
caused by Jesus to “regain (his) sight and be filled
with the holy Spirit.” (v.17b). Saul went from one camp
to the opposing camp. He went from persecuting Jesus to proclaiming
What do we learn from this episode?
no one is beyond the reach of God’s love and mercy.
No one, even the worst among men, is beyond conversion and
experiencing a 180-degree transformation. By the grace of
God and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, conversion can happen.
Do we judge some bad people as beyond redemption?
Saul was zealous in persecuting Christians. Upon conversion,
Paul was zealous in promoting the Christian faith. Many people,
including so-called Christians, are zealous in the pursuit
of money, power, position and pleasure. But many of them,
when they meet Christ and undergo conversion, are not as zealous
in proclaiming the gospel. Conversion, or metanoia, should
change us completely for the better, from the ways of the
world to the ways of the Lord, from secular pursuits to mission.
And with a loftier purpose, indeed a divine work, our zeal
should remain, even intensify. Where is your zeal focused?
to be a witness to Jesus is to suffer. This would be just
like Saul, chosen as an instrument of Jesus, of whom Jesus
said, “I will show him what he will have to suffer for
my name.” (v.16). The world is antagonistic to the gospel,
and those who preach it can expect opposition, hardship, suffering
and persecution. But such suffering will be our badge of honor.
Will you still go and proclaim the gospel of salvation in