“But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.'” – Acts 22:6-8
Continuing from yesterday, this is Part Two of Paul, formerly Saul’s story. Up until this point, Saul has communicated what his life looked like before he met Christ. Now, he’s describing the turning point when Christ interrupted his life in a powerful way.
In Jerusalem, Saul first began persecuting fellow Jews who had chosen to follow Jesus. But now he had decided to take his persecution on the road. So, he headed north to Damascus, modern-day Syria, to find and imprison more Jewish followers of Jesus. Pause here and take a minute to re-read today’s Scripture.
What happened? Here was Saul, upholding traditional Judaism, on his way to persecute followers of the Way, when all of a sudden, Jesus Himself appears and confronts him! “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Christ asked. Believe me, at that moment, Saul had zero doubt that the Lord was speaking to him. Imagine the conviction of sin that washed over Saul as he realized the weight of his actions in the eyes of God.
“And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’ But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus.” (Acts 22: 9).
Here was this zealot who had been charging to Damascus with a very clear mission, now pitifully and humbly being led by the hand because he had been literally struck blind by the Light of Christ. Imagine the turmoil he was wrestling with as he realized just how wrong he had been about everything! This is where the beginning of repentant faith takes place.
Until a person is convicted of their sinfulness compared to Jesus Christ, they never truly understand the second part of the life story. This was Part Two of Paul’s story. By the grace of God, he had been called to follow Jesus who gave him this second chance. It was God’s plan that was about to be fulfilled in Paul’s life. And He wants to fulfill His plan in your life, too. Stay tuned one more day, as we continue into Part Three of Paul’s life.