When Saul met the Lord
Acts 9:3-5 “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
Saul, a very religious Pharisee, had become enflamed against the followers of Jesus, after seeing Steven (the first martyr of the church) die.
Now here was the way a man who was true, would die.
Forgiving his killers, and asking God not to lay it to their charge.
Steven saw the heaven’s open and Jesus sitting on the throne, high and lifted up. (Acts 7:55-60)
But Saul would not believe his testimony.
That would make his nation guilty of condemning and killing their own Messiah.
No, No,…he would not believe it.
And the more Saul worked at not believing, the madder he got.
He devised a plan to destroy this belief.
He would persecute Jesus followers, and cause them to be stoned, too.
He would get rid of this Jesus.
But when some of the disciples in Jerusalem fled to other cities (the apostles, and a lot of other disciples did not), Saul determined to search them out and bring them back and stone them.
So off to Damascus he goes. He has letters which entitles him to grab these believers and arrest them and take them to Jerusalem for judgement.
He is fully empowered: first by hate; and then by the established religious rulers which crucified Christ.
Going along, quite sure nothing is going to stop him.
But one thing he could not be empowered for: the meeting with Christ Jesus, Himself.
First, there is light: “a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun…”(Acts 26:13)
God always gives light first…..so we are able to come out of the darkness.
Then He gives His Word.
Acts 26:14 “When we were fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?
It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
This got his attention! Here was Someone he had been persecuting. How could this be?
So he asks who this Person is.
Acts 26:15 “And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.”
(Twice Jesus says how Saul had persecuted Him.
But it was His believers Saul had beaten and stoned.
But when anyone hurts a child of God,…..He sees it as hurting Him….for we are one in Him.)
Acts 9:6 “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?….”
Saul, empowered of man; meets Jesus Christ the Almighty God……the God of Light….the God of the Word……and yields.
Jesus Christ was now Saul’s Lord;….and he declared Him to be so…..and that changed everything!
And the first thing it changed was Saul’s Purpose:
Acts 26:16-18 “But rise and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose,
(Here it is, his purpose from now on!)
to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things that thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.”
As you read this, it reads just like the experience he had.
His eyes were open by light; so he was to witness of Jesus Christ and give this Light all over the known world.
He was under the power of Satan when he refused to believe Steven’s witness, and instead gave himself over to hate, and viciousness.
So Saul/Paul was to turn others from the power of Satan unto God.
There is forgiveness of sins by Christ Jesus, and an inheritance given us in Jesus.
Then we are set aside for our purpose,…..the moment we are born again by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
When Saul met the Lord, everything changed.
And Paul’s ministry changed the world.
He preached before kings, soldiers, religious rulers, and idolaters.
Everywhere, he preached Christ.
His own testimony was:
1 Corinthians 2:1-2, 4-5 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
When Saul/Paul met the Lord Jesus Christ for himself, everything changed.
He went from hating the Lord,….to loving Him.
From trying to destroy Him, and the believers,….to building them up in the faith.
From just following religion….to following “the Lord”.
Have we met the Lord?