Start Date: 25 January 2018
End Date: 25 January 2018
Place: 365 Burrows Ave.
Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee in Jerusalem after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, swore to wipe out the new Christian church. He got letters from the high priest, authorizing him to arrest any followers of Jesus in the city of Damascus.
On the Damascus Road, Saul and his companions were struck down by a blinding light, brighter than the noonday sun. Saul heard a voice say to him:
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4)
When Saul asked who was speaking to him, the voice replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:5-6)
The men with Saul heard the sound but did not see the vision of the risen Christ that Saul did. Saul was blinded. They led him by the hand into Damascus to a man named Judas, on Straight Street. For three days Saul was blind and did not eat or drink anything.
Meanwhile, Jesus appeared in a vision to a disciple in Damascus named Ananias and told him to go to Saul. Ananias was afraid because he knew Saul’s reputation as a merciless persecutor of the church.
Jesus repeated his command, explaining that Saul was his chosen instrument to deliver the gospel to the Gentiles, their kings, and the people of Israel. So Ananias found Saul at Judas’ house, praying for help. Ananias laid his hands on Saul, telling him Jesus had sent him to restore his sight and that Saul might be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. He arose and was baptized into the Christian faith. Saul ate, regained his strength, and stayed with the Damascus disciples three days. After his conversion, Saul changed his name to Paul.
The conversion of Paul shows that Jesus himself wanted the gospel to go to the Gentiles and that it was no human being’s idea. Paul’s life-changing experience on the Damascus Road led to his baptism and instruction in the Christian faith. He became the most determined of the apostles, suffering brutal physical pain, persecution, and finally martyrdom. He revealed his secret of enduring a lifetime of hardship for the gospel: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)