In today’s (chronological) Bible reading… Acts 9-11… we are introduced to Saul the antagonist, who became Paul the missionary!
We first read of the Jewish rabble-rouser named Saul in the report of Stephen’s stoning. Saul was the one appointed to watch over the coats of the Jewish men murdered Stephen. Stephen’s death evidently emboldened a broader persecution of Christians… beyond Jerusalem, to wherever Christians might be. Saul soon became the face of the persecutors. He relished in “doing God’s work”. He was zealous to uphold the Jewish religion. He frequently dragged Christ-followers to prison, and spewed murderous threats against those who identified themselves with the crucified – and resurrected – Jesus.
It was while Saul was on his way to Damascus to menace more Christians that Saul was stopped cold in his tracks. Saul was used to shining lights in dark places… but, suddenly, he saw the light. God called out Saul’s name twice. Against all odds… and seemingly the last one anyone would expect God to choose… God had picked His man. And God was about to turn his world upside-down… and, also, the world around him through him.
Saul was forced to confront his own beliefs about the Promised One… the Messiah. Saul – in a flash – came to the realization Jesus is the Messiah! And, knowing this, he could no longer condemn the faith of those who already knew it.
Saul spoke the 4 words every person must ask at some point in his or her life: “Who are You, Lord?”
When we ask this, God will make Himself known to us. God wants us to know Him. He wants us to know Him more than He wants anything else!
As Saul came to realize, faith is not about religion. Faith is about a 1-on-1 relationship with God.