Struck by the Light
Acts 9:1–9; The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 112–121; Early Writings, pp. 200–202
God’s love is like a light in darkness.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).
You may have seen a bully in action at school or in your neighborhood. You may have been bullied. Bullies try to make others feel afraid. Saul was like a bully. He got the priests to give him power to arrest new Christians. But God had other plans for Saul.
Saul’s voice boomed like thunder. And lightning seemed to sizzle around him. He was as dangerous as lightning, too. His only goal in life was to search out and stamp out the new Christians. Saul and his assistants strode purposefully down the road. They were headed for the famous old city of Damascus. Official letters they carried gave them permission to capture Christians. Then they would take them back to Jerusalem, where they would be put to death.
The hot noonday sun blazed down on the travelers. But they marched steadily on. They were intent on their mission even though they were tired. They had traveled almost 150 miles in the past few days. Now Damascus was almost within sight.
Then with no warning at all, in the middle of this very ordinary day, it happened! A beam of light flashed down from heaven! It was far, far brighter than the noonday sun. The travelers fell to the ground in shock. Saul stared into the astonishing brightness.
And then Jesus spoke to him. “Saul, Saul,” Jesus said, “why do you persecute Me?”
Saul could only stare and whisper, “Who are You, Lord?”
“I am Jesus, whom you persecute.” In that moment, Saul understood. Jesus really was God. He really was! And He really had risen from the dead, just as the Christians believed. And Saul understood what Jesus was saying to him: “When you persecute My followers, Saul, you are really persecuting Me!”
Saul then asked, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
“Get up and go into the city,” Jesus answered. “There you will be told what you must do.” And then the light was gone.
The men traveling with Saul were speechless. They had certainly seen the light, but they had not seen Jesus. They had heard a noise, but they had not understood Jesus’ words. They struggled to their feet, looking at each other and wondering about what had just happened.
Saul looked around too. But he couldn’t see a thing. He was blind! Absolutely, totally blind! He turned his head from side to side. “I can’t see!” he whispered.
Saul’s friends took him by the hand. They led him down the road to the city. What a strange procession! Only a few minutes before, Saul had been a mighty hunter, eager to hunt down and capture every Christian. And now he was being led down the road like a little child.
Saul’s feet scuffed along through the dust. But he wasn’t paying any attention to where he was being led. There was only one thought in his mind. He had seen Jesus! He had really seen Jesus!