Saul’s conversion story in Acts 8 is a great example of our Lord Jesus delegating his work on the earth to other people. Jesus chooses an enemy of his church (Saul) and a faithful disciple (Ananias) and commissions each of them for a job. He gives them assignments. Neither one of them were looking for it. Saul wasn’t looking for a new religion, he wasn’t seeking direction for his life. He was an up-and-comer, he was climbing the ladder of success politically, socially, and religiously. He knew exactly what he was doing and where he was going when Jesus stepped in and stopped him dead in his tracks and changed everything. He gave Saul a job and changed everything. Ananias wasn’t looking for trouble. I don’t know what he was doing that day — eating a sandwich, cleaning out the garage, I don’t know. But Jesus pushed in, he intruded, he went where maybe he wasn’t wanted, and he gave Ananias a job. Both of these guys had their lives turned upside down by the call. They were both sent to places they didn’t want to go, and they both made speeches written by somebody else.
These kinds of episodes — there are a ton of these in Acts — show us that this thing didn’t end at the crucifixion. It continued. But when the earthly Jesus became the risen Christ, a cast of unlikely characters was enlisted to continue the story. People like Saul and Ananias were chosen to play a part. The risen King is standing in the wings, coaching, encouraging, pushing them onto the stage, feeding them their lines. Ordinary people are given jobs. And given the courage and power to perform them.
This is how Jesus does things. We know that whatever the Father called Jesus to do, the Son was never interested in doing it by himself. The first thing he did was call a group of twelve ordinary guys to drop what they were doing and start doing what he wanted them to do instead. And he didn’t seem to be too concerned with their experience or character or skills. Jesus gave jobs to lots of losers and knuckleheads. He chose them and gave them assignments, not because they were open to his teaching, not because he really enjoyed hanging out with them, but because he wanted to put them to work. Jesus said, “Come unto me.” Then he said, “Go into the whole world.”
Again, we see this all over the book of Acts: ordinary people doing extraordinary things just like Jesus. Peter and Paul both healed crippled men, just like Jesus. Paul’s very first sermon in Acts 9 almost gets him killed, just like Jesus’ first sermon in Nazareth. Normal men and women are fasting and praying like Jesus, preaching Scripture in the synagogues like Jesus. Their teaching is described by the people as amazing, just like their Lord’s. These people called and commissioned by Christ perform miracles, they’re followed by huge crowds, they’re led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. They do everything Jesus was doing. And when they’re murdered for proclaiming the Kingdom of God, like Jesus was, they die just like Jesus. When Stephen was executed for preaching like Jesus, he died with the words of our Lord on his lips, “Father, forgive them.”
These stories in Scripture, ordinary people doing remarkable things, real men and women called and commissioned by Jesus and given extraordinary assignments — this is your story, too. Like Saul on the way to Damascus, as you travel to Dalhart or Dumas or Dallas, as you go along every day, doing your thing, taking care of business, like Peter and his nets, like Matthew counting his money, like Nathanial sitting under his tree, what does Jesus have to do to get your attention? Look for it. Listen for it. Because if he hasn’t already, he will. It’s coming. Jesus is going to give you a job.