And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Acts 9:5
Saul is knee-deep and fully committed to ridding the world of “the Way” – the growing movement claiming Jesus alone as the Way to Salvation, the only Truth, and the source of Life.
Saul wasn’t looking for Jesus. Quite the opposite…he was looking to eliminate Jesus from the Jewish narrative. But Jesus was looking for Saul.
Mid-stride in Saul’s latest plot to destroy the Christian movement he is literally blinded by a light from heaven. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” the voice says. “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asks. “I am Jesus, who you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
Those traveling with Saul see nothing, but they all hear the voice. They guide their newly blind friend the rest of the way to Damascus. Three days of blindness and fasting before Saul (also called Paul) regains his sight, is filled with the Holy Spirit, gets baptized, and eats. His zeal is about to take a 180-degree turn… from an enemy of Jesus to one of His greatest advocates and messengers. From this point on, Paul’s entire life will be about knowing Jesus more intimately and making Him known. It will become his life’s mission. His knowledge of Jewish history, law, and prophecies, his zealous personality, his laser-focused determination will now be used for Jesus rather than against him. It won’t be easy – God even said He would show Saul how much he will suffer for His name – but Saul (Paul) won’t be deterred. He will travel and teach and plant churches and endure and comfort and correct and encourage and love, and he will write…oh, he will write; he will write the majority of the New Testament letters.
Challenge: Intentionally pray for a Paul in your life. That family member or friend or loved one that feels too far off to be saved; who is not only agnostic toward Jesus, but antagonistic; who is stubborn and hard-hearted. Take comfort in this truth displayed most beautifully in the life of Saul (Paul): There is NO ONE too far gone for God’s hands to reach and God’s plans to pursue.
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