Then Paul said: I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify…“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’ “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’
A Former Persecutor (1-5)
God’s Grace is amazing! Grace actually makes more sense to the least likely—the underdogs, those considered to be dregs of the society, the irreligious lot, and many other misfits. The famous hymn sums up the nature of grace: “Amazing grace…that saved a wretch like me.” Every believer in Jesus Christ has in one way or another experienced this prodigious grace. Of course every story is different. In today’s passage, Apostle Paul is re-telling his story—for completely different reasons.
He stands trial before the Jewish religious leaders. These were, most likely, his former colleagues before he gave his life to Jesus. In fact his religious credentials were better than most of them. As a young Pharisee, he had been mentored by an outstanding religious expert, Gamaliel. Before his conversion, he was at the forefront of persecuting followers of Jesus Christ but now his life has been transformed.
Every believer in Jesus Christ has in one way or another experienced this prodigious grace.
He has found the better way. The former persecutor of the church is now on the receiving end of the wrath he once meted out to those who followed Christ. God’s grace is truly amazing. If someone like Paul can now unapologetically stand for his faith in Christ, we can all be encouraged to pray for those who now fiercely persecute the church.
Are there people you hesitate to pray for, maybe because of their hostility towards the Gospel? No one is out of the reach of God’s love.
The Turning Point (6-11)
Paul now shares how he came to believe in the Person and the message of the One he now uncompromisingly proclaims. His encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ was as dramatic as his life would eventually turn out to be. If there is anything that ever happened to him, it was a realization of his utter worthlessness without Jesus Christ. He, who once was powerful, was blinded and needed the assistance of his guards to get to Damascus.
All of us who believe in Jesus have had our turning points. Some of them were dramatic while others were ordinary. In all this, it was the Lord who drew us to Himself. Now that we have been saved by His grace, we have an obligation to live for Him.
How did you come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior? How has your life changed since then? Take time to thank Him.