The Big Change
by Linda Sue Pochodzay Edwards
Text Version | Afrikaans | Italian
Jenny and Joey sat in the grass, watching the glass jar intently. At any moment, the butterfly should break completely out of the cocoon. It had been such a long time since they caught the caterpillar and placed it in the jar. They had taken especially good care of it and watched as it wrapped itself up inside the cocoon. Now it was finally time for the caterpillar to emerge with its brand new set of wings.
How exciting it was to watch the cocoon crack open and see the butterfly begin its struggle for its new life! Sometimes it wiggled and jiggled as it worked to become free. Other times it remained motionless as it gathered strength to try again.
THEN IT HAPPENED! They were able to see both wings of the lovely butterfly as it dropped completely out of the cocoon. WHAT A BIG CHANGE from the fuzzy caterpillar that had been placed in the jar so long ago!
Saul was an angry man who did not like Christians at all. He yelled and screamed at them. He made nasty threats. He beat them and sometimes even killed them. Saul was definitely not a man anyone would want to try to befriend.
On this particular day, Saul was traveling to the city of Damascus. He wanted the leaders of the city to give him permission to hurt more Christians. As he and his friends were making their way along the dusty road, discussing what they were going to say to the leaders, and bragging about how happy they would be to receive permission to persecute the Christians …
…from out of heaven, came the brightest light Saul had ever seen. The light surrounded Him. He tried to cover his eyes to shield the light, but it was so bright that it still hurt his eyes. He fell down on the ground trying to get away from it.
Then he heard a voice. It was unlike any voice he had ever heard, saying, “SAUL! SAUL! Why do you want to persecute me?”
Saul, not recognizing the voice, said, “Who are you?”
The answer came back, “I am Jesus.”
Of course, Saul was terribly afraid. He was shaking and trembling and could hardly speak. In a weak voice he said, “Lord, what should I do?”
Jesus replied, “Go into the city, and someone will meet you and tell you what to do.”
The friends that were with him were astonished! They didn't see the light. They didn't see a person. They only heard the voice. They didn't have a clue what was happening!
When Saul was able to get up off the ground, he uncovered his eyes, but he couldn't see anything. His friends had to hold his hands and lead him into the city of Damascus. The light was so bright it had blinded him. For three whole days he couldn't see anything at all.
While all of this was happening on the road outside the city of Damascus, something else was happening inside the city.
The Christians were becoming fearful because they had heard that Saul was on his way. They knew he was a cruel man that didn't like them. They knew what terrible things he had done to other Christians and they were getting quite worried.
There was a Christian man named Ananias who loved the Lord very much. God spoke to him in a vision, telling him to go down the street to find Saul. Now, Ananias had heard all the stories about Saul and he wasn't very fond of this plan. Ananias spoke to the Lord: “What if he hurts me? What if he even wants to KILL me? Are you sure about this, Lord?” I'm sure we all can understand Ananias' hesitation to go out and find Saul!
The Lord spoke to Ananias again, reassuring him that everything would be fine. Ananias found the house where Saul was staying and went in for a visit. While he was there, he prayed for Saul and the blindness left him. The Lord healed him so he could see again.
Saul stayed in Damascus with the Christians. He became good friends with them and learned from them. It wasn't long before Saul became a preacher teaching people about Jesus. Everyone was amazed! They couldn't believe that this was the same person who had hated them so much and wanted to kill them.
WHAT A WONDERFUL CHANGE!
1. Does Jesus only care about good people?
2. What was the BIG CHANGE that happened to Saul?
3. Can anyone change or just some people?
A VERSE TO LEARN
“…If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…” (2 Corinthians 5:17a).
Even though people are mean, God still loves them and can help them to change.
Do you think a bully could ever change into a loving person? What do you think it would take for that to happen? Do you know someone who is a bully? What do you think you could do to help them change?
Now, do you yourself sometimes act like a bully? Would you ever even think of bullying Jesus? Well, Jesus said that what you do to others, you also do to Him. Are you ready and willing to ask Jesus to forgive you? Did you know Jesus is more willing to forgive you than you are to forgive yourself? He is ready and willing to help you change into a better person, one who builds up and encourages others instead of bullying them.
[After discussion:] Paul was pretty much acting like a big bully before he met Jesus Christ. Getting to know Jesus changed his life around completely. With God’s help, he learned to love others just as Jesus loved him. Jesus has the power to change anyone. He loves you and He can change you. He can change bullies as well. Are you ready and willing to let Jesus change you?
Jesus also taught his disciples to pray for their enemies. Do you think at least some of the disciples listened to Jesus’ teaching and obediently prayed for Paul? Are you willing to pray for those who bully you so they can come to know Jesus?
Dear God, thank You for loving me even though I
don't deserve your love. Help me to love others
even when they are mean and do not remember that
You can change anyone. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE?
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2 Corinthians 5:17
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Saul Begins to Live for God
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4 Important Things Every Kid Should Know (online)
God...Should I Be Baptized?
HOBC Bible Big Book: Paul and Silas Go to Jail
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Paul: Journeys of Adventure
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God's Story: Paul (online)
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Saul Becomes Paul (online)
SuperBook: The Road to Damascus (online)
All the Shows, Volume 1: 1993-1999
Do You Wonder Why? (online)
God's Story from Creation to Eternity (online)
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Last updated August 23, 2022
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