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Saul Meets His Match
Acts 9:1 ¶ And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Nothing is ever as it seems. Things can change very quickly, especially when God decides to get involved. So it was with the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Heavy persecution continued against the infant Christian church, causing believers to be dispersed over a wide area. Saul, who had been active in the stoning of Stephen figured very prominently in its execution. He approached the High Priest and asked for warrants to arrest any believers that he might find as far north as Damascus, Syria. The account of his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus is also told in Acts 22 and 26 where some other details are given. God in his sovereignty decided that He could use this educated, zealous, Pharisee of Pharisees, who was blameless under the law to further His kingdom, rather than destroy it.
Suddenly a bright light shone from heaven (Acts 9:3-5), causing Saul and his party to be thrown to the ground. Saul heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Something clicked in Saul's mind and he recognized that he was being opposed by the very God that he professed to serve so vigorously.
Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? .......
The Greek word used here for Lord has several shades of meaning, running from one in supreme authority such as a king to God Almighty Himself. We note that in the KJV "Lord" is capitalized denoting Deity. I believe that is Saul's meaning here. In any case he knew that he had gotten a hold of something or someone a whole lot bigger than he himself. Saul, being a devout Jew did not use the name "Lord" carelessly, lest he take it in vain. To give the name of God to another would be idolatry. From childhood he had been ingrained with the Hebrew Shema which stated:
Deuteronomy 6:4 ¶ Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:
6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Saul knew that he was having a divine encounter, much like another devout Jew named Thomas had in John 20:28, when he exclaimed, "My Lord and my God," as he beheld the wounded side of Jesus.
Acts 9:5..............And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:................ /font>
The Lord answered Saul in the Hebrew tongue and said, "I am Jesus.” Paul recognized the Hebrew equivalent of the name Jesus (Yeshua) as meaning, "The Lord Jehovah has become my Yeshua or salvation (Isa. 12:2)." Can you even imagine what went through Saul's mind? I'm sure he was flooded with waves of remembrance of those whom he had persecuted and even murdered in this holy name that was now confronting him from heaven.
font color="blue">...........it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Kicking against the pricks referred to sharp prongs that were used to train stubborn oxen. This is exactly what Saul had been doing. I believe that he had already considered the prophesies that others cited as proof of Christ's Divinity. Many priests had already been converted. I'm sure that he had heard some of them speak of the resurrection as proven fact. He knew that Messiah would be a son of David (Ps. 132:11), born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), and that He would be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14) as Jesus’ followers claimed. Saul was well acquainted with the writings of Isaiah. Could this Jesus be the root of David (Isa. 11) and the Suffering Servant (Isa. 53) of the Lord? Yes, it was all coming together. Saul realized his guilt and he did what we all must do, that is cry out to heaven in repentance.
Acts 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
aul had been blinded by the light from heaven. At the Lord's command he proceeded to go into Damascus. He went three days without food and water. He saw in a vision that a man named Ananias would be coming to restore his sight by the laying on of his hands and to give him instruction of what he must do. Of course God was already at work on the other end. He said to Annanais: "...... Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:15).
Ananias obeyed the voice of the Lord. He prayed for Saul's healing and then commanded him to hasten to the waters of baptism. As Saul was being baptized he called upon the name that he had once hated (Acts 22:16). The scales fell from his eyes and his sight was restored (Acts 9:18).
The reason that I feel that Saul, now named Paul, had already considered the case for Jesus is that in very short order he was preaching and proving in the synagogues of Damascus that Jesus was indeed the son of God (Acts 9:21-22).
Oh, what a little encounter with the God of heaven can bring about.
Perhaps we've read and heard about Jesus all of our lives. We have our conceptions about Him and also our cherished doctrines and traditions. All of which are subject to change when we recognize Jesus as the Lord God Almighty (Rev. 1:8) and we, like Paul, cry out to Him, "What must I do."
Teacher: Well, at least there's one thing I can say about your son.
Parent: What's that?
Teacher: With grades like these, he couldn't be cheating.
Keep Looking Up!
Don and Marie Spooner
About Him! Ministries
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