Saul of Tarsus was a brilliant Jewish rabbi. He knew the way to ensure God’s favor was by avoiding the 365 “Thou Shalt Nots” in the law of Moses. Saul was a Pharisee—he kept away from sinners!
This is what disturbed him about the fake messiah Jesus. Jesus was justly condemned for offering forgiveness to the riffraff who rebelled against God’s law. He was dead and gone, but his fanatical followers were claiming he was alive. And Saul’s mission was to stamp out the Jesus cult.
As Saul went out to imprison the Jesus fanatics a brilliant light flashed about him from heaven. He fell to the ground and heard a voice, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you?”
“I am Jesus.”
Saul’s mind was spinning, his world turning.
Conversion is a revolution that makes everything look different, an extraordinary reversal of values, and relationships. It means to turn around.
Saul didn’t want to hear that salvation had to be accomplished for him by Jesus apart from his own efforts. He didn’t want to be utterly dependent on God. But the light from heaven puts everything in a new perspective.
When we meet Jesus it’s like experiencing a sunrise; not only do we see him, but we see everything else in a new light because of him. He opens our eyes to see that we are enemies of God and that we cannot earn God’s love by our goodness, because it is a free gift. Then we are inspired (like Saul, who became the apostle Paul) to share this gift with others.
Pastor of Care