Vessels for honor
He is a chosen vessel of Mine… – Vs 15 (NKJV)
At first blush, this looks like the story of Saul’s conversion, and rightfully so. But there seems to be a lot more to this passage than a recap of Saul’s Damascus road experience. In fact, he is just one of a number of actors in this play. There’s Ananias the disciple, there’s Peter the apostle, Aeneas the paralytic, and Dorcas the deceased. And while Saul takes up a large part of the narrative, this story is really not about him. It is about God. It is about how God has chosen to use men and women to accomplish His divine plan through the ages. It is about how God uses fallen creatures to proclaim His glory.
In verse 15, when Ananias shares with God his reluctance to go and minister to Saul because of his reputation as a persecutor of the church, God tells him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine” (NASB). That word translated “instrument” is skeuos in the Greek. It can refer to “a vessel, implement, or household utensil.” It is the same word used by Paul when he later wrote to the Corinthians:
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. – 2 Corinthians 4:7
You find Paul using the same word in his letter to Timothy:
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. – 2 Timothy 2:21
This chapter is all about people being used by God as vessels for his honor and glory. Some are active participants like Ananias and Peter. Others are passive, like Dorcas and the paralytic, yet God uses them nonetheless. Just take a look at all that takes place by the hand of God through the lives of His chosen vessels in this one chapter alone:
A disciple obeys – Vs 17
A persecutor is converted – Vs 18
The body of Christ ministers – Vs 25
A brother in Christ supports – Vs 27
The church grows – Vs 31
A paralytic is healed – Vs 34
A woman is raised from the dead – Vs 40
The lost are saved – Vs 42
Every one of these are a picture of the mighty hand of God reaching down and using “earthen vessels” – clay pots – to accomplish His will. Each of them ended up bringing honor and glory to God. God used each of these individuals in such a way “so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 2:7).
God chose Saul, a religious zealot who was out to destroy the church, as a vessel to grow His church
He chose Ananias,an obscure disciple with a fear of persecution, as a vessel to anoint Saul with the Holy Spirit
He chose a group of unknown disciples to spare the life of the very man who had been out to imprison them
He chose Aeneas, a man debilitated by paralysis, as a vessel to witness to the power of Christ
He used Dorcas, a deceased woman, as a vessel to testify to Christ’s power over death and the grave
And the result was that “many believed in the Lord” (Vs 42). When God chooses and uses, results happen. Lives are changed. The lost are found. The lame walk. The dead are restored to life. The enemies of God become lovers of God.
God is still in the choosing business. And He still chooses vessels of clay. People who are spiritually paralyzed, spiritually dead, spiritually His enemies, spiritually reluctant, and spiritual nobodies. He chooses people like us to do His will and to reveal His power. Earthen vessels that He transforms into vessels for honor. Have you been chosen?
Father, thank you for choosing me. Thank you for using me. Even though I am little more than a clay pot with nothing to offer, and no value in and of myself. But You have chosen to use me so that my life can be a witness to Your power and glory. Make me a vessel for honor, sanctified, set apart for You, useful and always prepared for every good work you have for me to do. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men