“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.” - Acts 9:3-5
Around 33 A.D. in the country of Syria, the miraculous conversion of a man named Saul took place. At that time, he was the least likely person on the planet to follow Christ…in fact he hated, hunted and killed Christians. But, when he met Christ, he was dramatically and forever changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. He became Paul – a man ignited by God’s Spirit and for God’s glory.
It is no coincidence that a flashing light from heaven preceded Paul’s encounter with the Christ. Jesus is the light of the world, and in Him there is no darkness. The light startled Saul, and immediately put him on his knees. This, too, is no coincidence. Why did a God-hater, Christian-killer like Saul fall to his knees in the presence of Christ? I doubt it was a conscious choice at this point.
The Bible says that one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord. Whether pagan, atheist, or some other religion that rejects the One and Only God, there will be no person left standing in the presence of the Lord. The holiness of Jesus Christ must be worshiped…and so Saul, this infamous persecutor, finds himself in the dust, bowed low before the King of kings.
The light Saul encountered was both literal and figurative. Upon seeing the bright light, Saul calls the voice speaking to him, “Lord.” How does he know it is Christ? The veil of unbelief has been lifted from his heart so he can see and understand the truth. He believes it is Jesus he has encountered on this road; and he obeys the instructions to go the city and wait to hear what to do next.
Isn’t it interesting that Paul had to lose his physical sight in order to receive His spiritual sight? New life in Jesus always requires the death of our old self…our old ways of seeing the world and responding to Him. The blindness of Saul led to the salvation of Paul…new sight, a new life, and a new name. Paul was also given a new purpose. With the same zeal he had once hunted and killed Christians, he now preached the Gospel. Instead of taking lives, God used him to save lives.
While most of us will never have the dramatic encounter with Jesus that Saul did, that doesn’t mean our stories are any less miraculous. The same Jesus saves all. The same Spirit dwells in all, and the same fire from Him that ignites our lives.
Dear Jesus, Thank You for opening the eyes of my heart to see Your truth. You have shined Your light into the darkness of my sin and saved me for Your glory. Please show me today how to carry this light into the darkness around me.
It is in Your name I pray, Amen.