Evangelism occurs through our embodiment of the gospel. God calls Ananias to heal Saul of Tarsus, but Ananias understandably is anxious about taking up this mission. After all, Ananias knows that Saul is in the habit of “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.”
Nevertheless, God commands Ananias to “go” because God has chosen Saul as a vessel to bear the gospel to the world. Most modern translations render the passage “an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name.” Yet, in the New Testament, the verb bastaz is never used to express message-carrying. It usually refers to the bearing of a burden (Jesus bearing our illness [Mark 8:17]; bearing our own cross in order to be Jesus’ disciples [Luke 14:27]; bearing one another’s burdens [Gal. 6:2]).
Thus, God refers to Saul not as the mere instrumental deliverer of a message but as the incarnational embodiment of the message. Paul’s call is not to engage in his mission as a postman but rather to evangelize through embodiment—by becoming the message with his whole being in his thoughts, words, and deeds, bearing the gospel in his body as a vessel—for the sake of the world.
Are we following in Paul’s footsteps? Are we bearing in our bodies the message of God’s sacrificial, redemptive love? Or are we simply carrying it as a message? Let us pray that we become those who practice evangelism through embodiment.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, assist us in becoming missional messengers of the gospel through embodying the sacrificial love of Christ in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Amen.
Saul is one of the primary obstacles to the early spread of Christianity. The death and resurrection of Jesus does not fit his paradigm for the Messiah, so it cannot be true. It takes a miraculous intervention by Christ himself to change his mind. Psalm 30 reminds us that the light will always chase the darkness. We experience true suffering and true loss, but God can turn our mourning into dancing in God’s own timing. In Revelation, John takes us to the throne room of God, where angels and creatures proclaim the glory of the Lamb of God who has defeated death and reigns forever. Returning to the Gospel of John, we read more about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, which here include a seaside breakfast and a quiz for Peter.
Read Acts 9:1-20. Jesus’ resurrection calls us to an embodied faith. How do you bear the gospel?
Read Psalm 30. Recall a specific time when you depended on God.
Read Revelation 5:11-14. Have you ever worshiped the Lamb with your whole body? What keeps you from falling down to worship God?
Read John 21:1-19. The author reminds us that Jesus calls us to be shepherds and sheep. Which role do you most often fill? How can you take on a new leadership role or allow others to lead you?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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