By Virginia S. Saunders
CAN THE INCREDIBLE CONVERSION OF SAUL happen today among our persecutors? The ISIS, Moslem extremists, Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Abu Sayaff, and other blood thirsty demons of the world? Saul was a killer of Christians, and yet the Lord Jesus Christ called him and anointed him as “this chosen instrument of mine”. Saul wrote to the synagogue in Damascus boasting that he will bring back in chains to Jerusalem any believer in Christ whom he caught. He approved and watched the beating, lashing, and stoning to death of the apostle Stephen. (Acts 7:54-60).
Saul was born in the Greek city of Tarsus, Cilicia, with Roman citizenship, with Jewish parents from the tribe of Benjamin. His original Jewish name is Saul, and his Gentile name is Paul. He studied the Jewish law under Gamaliel in Jerusalem. As a devotee to his Jewish faith and as a Pharisee, he stood out in the New Testament as the foremost persecutor of Christians.
Saul’s conversion is detailed in Chapter 9 of the Book of Acts of the Apostles. It is a mind boggling read about how Saul became a Jesus freak. On his way to Damascus, Saul had a Jesus encounter. A flash of lightning hit him and he and his two companions heard the voice of Jesus.
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, Sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, who you are persecuting.” Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
The two men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing, so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see and he neither ate nor drank.”
The Bible said that it was through a pray over by a man named Ananias that Saul regained his eyesight. Ananias was a Christian disciple who was given a vision by Jesus to go to Damascus and pray over a man named Saul. Ananias protested saying he is aware about Saul’s reign of terror among Christians, and he had no intention of praying over him. That’s when Jesus ordered Ananias to go. “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.”
And as we know, Saul’s conversion amazed not only his two guards, but also all of Jesus’ apostles and disciples who were initially afraid of him, but gradually accepted him as a Believer. He changed his name to Paul, and went on to preach the Word of God, as well as wrote two thirds of the New Testament.
What are the chances that Jesus would work the same miracle over the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi? Or the most senior head of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, Khalid Abdul Fatah Al Manhaddhani?
We are all shocked by the extent of our enemies’ brutality. There is no mercy in their hearts, much like Saul before his conversion. This week ISIS just beheaded 13 teenagers who were caught watching soccer on TV. And this week they are threatening to behead two Japanese hostages if Japan does not fork out $200 Million in ransom money. It is clear that satan and his legions have invaded and taken over the souls and minds of Islamic militants.
What I have learned about salvation is that one is not saved unless another prays for someone’s salvation. Perhaps the disciples prayed for Saul, responding to Jesus’ teaching that disciples should pray for their enemies. Ephesians 6:12 said “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”
It encouraged us to “hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
Jesus gave us authority to use His name to pray for others. Everything about Jesus is for our salvation. During the last supper (Luke 22:14-20; Matthew 26:26-30), when He broke the bread and raised it, He said, “This is my body which will be given to you. Do this in memory of me.” Then He took the cup and said, “This is the cup of my blood of the New Covenant which will be shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
There, in those encouraging words, is the authority given us by our Lord to use for the salvation of mankind, our loved ones, our enemies. We have been redeemed by His blood. What would happen if all of us, believers in Jesus Christ, used His precious blood in our prayers to cover from head to toe all followers of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, Taliban, Hezbollah, and Abu Sayaff? Cover our enemies with the blood of Jesus Christ! Cover Al Baghdadi with the blood of Jesus Christ! Cover Khalid Al Manhadhani with the blood of Jesus Christ! Cover with the blood of Jesus Christ all the ISIS children who are being brainwashed to hate and kill Christians and Jews! Cover all the hostages with the blood of Jesus Christ!
Like many Christians I know, I have been doing this for a long time and I am beginning to see the conversions on specific groups I have been praying for. The blood of Jesus Christ is alive. I actually find this an exciting spiritual endeavour, a sense of empowerment that we can use the blood of Jesus to transform the hearts and minds and souls of our enemies. Every morning, every night I cover ISIS, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Taliban, Abu Sayaff, and the Bangsamoro in Southern Philippines with the blood of Jesus Christ. Without their even knowing it, without any physical or spiritual defense on their part, we are transforming enemies’ hard hearts and confused ideology through a spiritual battle of epic proportions. God said to pray in the Spirit. Using the blood of Jesus Christ as a prayer weapon is as close to the Spirit as we can get.
Christians must take advantage of this spiritual weapon daily to defeat the enemy, instead of wringing their hands every time a diabolical incident happens, such as the one in Paris concerning the issue of Charlie Hebdo magazine. Twelve editors and staffers as well as five hostages were killed, which brought Paris into a turmoil. Also last week, Boko Haram torched two thousand people in a village in Nigeria. That was not only a terroristic act, it was a heinous crime against humanity. And during those moments, the devil was involved and winning. I know that Moslems are also praying for the conversion of hearts of their more radical brethren. But what sets Christian prayers apart is the authority we have received from Jesus Christ.
In Luke 9:1 (The Mission of the Twelve), Jesus summoned the twelve apostles and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. In Acts 2, He gave them more power by sending the Holy Spirit, who distributed spiritual gifts of healing hands, praying tongues, visions and prophecies. The Bible said we are co-heirs of Christ, which means that what the Apostles and Disciples received in the early church, we have also received. All we need to do is be aware of it, and use it.
Saul became Paul and was used by God to evangelize and turn the hearts and minds of people towards Jesus Christ. Would it not be worth our while if, by the strength of our prayers, by our pleading the blood of Jesus Christ to convert the wicked, that from the ranks of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban, Boko Haram, and Abu Sayaff, there would arise thousands of modern day Pauls??
Virginia S. Saunders
January 21, 2015
First posted at http://virginiasaunders.authorsxpress.com/2015-01-21/sauls-conversion-blood-over-the-wicked/