Saul’s "Damascus Road Conversion” to Paul

The decisive act in which a sinner turns away from sin in genuine repentance and accepts the salvation that Christ offers. The imagery in conversion is that of turning. A person is going along a road and realizes that he or she is on the wrong track. They will never reach the des … More

Conversion

In this passage we have the most famous conversion story in history. We have reached a turning point in the Book of Acts. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus, who was the leading persecutor of Christians, was perhaps the greatest event in Church history after Pentecost. Here we find a man who actually thought he was doing God a favor by persecuting the church. He had asked for authority from the high priest in Jerusalem to bring any Damascus Christians to Jerusalem for trial (vv. 1-2). However, God had other plans for him. When Saul had almost reached Damascus, a bright light from heaven flashed on him (v. 3). He fell to the ground and heard a voice that said, “Saul! Saul! Why are you so cruel to me” (v. 4)? Then someone had to lead him to Damascus by the hand (vv. 7-8). The following describes his conversion experience:

  1. There was conviction - . . . “it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (v. 5).
  2. There was conversion - When the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (v. 5).
  3. There was consecration - When Paul asked “What wilt thou have me to do?” (v. 6).
  4. There was communion - During the three days he was without sight, food and water (v. 9). 

Saul was out to arrest others when the Lord arrested him. In spite of his great learning (Acts 26:24) he was spiritually blind (II Corinthians 3:12-18). Like many others he stumbled over the cross (I Corinthians 1:23) because he depended on his own righteousness. (Philippians 3:1-10). When Saul suddenly found himself on the ground his spiritual eyes were opened, but his physical eyes were closed. He entered Damascus a changed man. And how changed he was as Saul becomes Paul.

Application

If I knew I would lose my sight tomorrow, what would I want to see today? What does this tell me about myself? It is my job to help give spiritual sight to those who are blind spiritually.

Acts 9:1-9 (English Standard Version)

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

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