Acts 9: 3-5, “As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me”? “Who are you, Lord”? Saul asked. “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, he replied.””
These verses describe the conversion of Saul, when he was on his way to Damascus.
Saul, later called Paul, was a persecutor of the followers of Jesus. Saul was a devout Jew and in his rage to destroy those who were preaching Jesus, he would go anywhere to drag them out of their houses and beat them in public squares. When a disciple named Stephen was stoned, Saul approved his death.
Saul was so full of hatred that In his rage, “he went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the Synagogues in Damascus so that if he found any there who belonged to the way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.” Acts 9:1-2
While Saul was on his way to Damascus, something happened unexpectedly. A miracle turned Saul, a persecutor of Jesus into Paul, a prisoner of Christ.
“As Saul neared Damascus in his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him” The flash of light was so strong that Saul fell to the ground.
The Lord chose his light to play a part in converting Paul. God chooses different ways and means to get us in closeness to him. For some, he uses his written word, for some he uses his messengers and to some he appears himself. God knows us more than we know ourselves and he knows the perfect way to change us in the image of his son Jesus.
The Lord sent first his light and then his word to convert Saul. After the light appeared, Saul heard the someone asking him, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?”.
Jesus didn’t Say “Saul” but called out twice “Saul, Saul”.
Saul was dead twice at the time the Lord had called him. He, in his rage and passion to persecute the followers of Christ, was neither listening to his own voice nor the voice of others. The Lord woke him up by calling out his name twice. As soon as Saul heard his name from the mouth of the Lord, his spiritual ears were opened and he came back to his senses. The moment he realized his act of cruelty towards Lord’s disciples, he spoke up “Who are you, Lord.”
As soon as Paul cried out LORD, Something happened deep inside his heart, the ground of his heart that was dry for a long time suddenly became moist and softer. Saul was all full of pride but the moment he said “Lord” he accepted Jesus’ authority over his life.
Once Saul was made humble, he was ready to receive the word from the Lord. In response to Saul’s question, the Lord answered “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
Surprisingly, the one who is called the King of Kings and the Lord of the Lord didn’t introduce himself as the King or the Lord. All he said was his name ‘Jesus’ and the purpose why he had appreared to Saul.
Saul had never experienced the love of God in such a way that God himself could stand on behalf of his disciples and share in their persecution. Jesus, who is called the lion of the tribe of Judah, did not use any force or authority to convert Saul. All he used was his humility and an expression of his deep love for his disciples. Saul was completely broken, and his spiritual eyes were opened. He not only became a disciple of Christ at that very moment, but was also sold to Christ’ humility and agape love.
Paul became a prisoner of Christ and remained faithful until his death on this earth.