We’ve continued our weekly classes on the book of Acts and the next one was Acts chapter 9. [You can listen to the full 35 minute class here.] There’s a famous phrase that is associated with this chapter, “a Damascus Road conversion”. Even in secular circles this is a common phrase and it relates to what happened to “Saul”, later called “Paul” in this chapter.
On the road to Damascus from Jerusalem a young Jewish zealot was traveling in order to round up members of the growing movement of Christians who worshiped Jesus of Nazareth as the Jewish messiah. Saul was adamantly against these people, as was the Jewish Sanhedrin in Jerusalem who had sent him on his journey.
But at noon a light shined about Saul. He fell from donkey and heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4) And so, on the road to Damascus, this man who later became the Apostle Paul had one of the most dramatic turnarounds in history, which is why that phrase is still used today.
Sometimes God has to use drastic measures. God is love. He is gentle, longsuffering, patience and all that and more. But there comes a time when “His Spirit will not always strive with man”. (Genesis 6:3) When Paul saw the light on the road to Damascus, he ended up on the ground, as he spoke to the light, “Who are you Lord?” And the voice said, “I am Jesus who you persecute.” (Acts 9:5)
The Lord didn’t give Saul a big list of things to do. At first He just said to “go into the city and it will be told you what you must do“. (Acts 9:6) There’s just so much there about the basics of obedience to the leadings of God and how He will just lead us step by step most of the time.
In our class we talked about the importance of Paul to the progress of the spread of Christianity in the first century and discussed what might have happened and how things might have gone if he hadn’t hadn’t his conversion and then took up such an important place in the history of Christianity. Paul seemed to be the fire-starter, the catalyst, the pilot light on the stove that provoked even the original 12 disciples to go further and to do more than they were doing at the time.
So our class this week was on the events of Acts chapter 9. You can listen to the full 35 minute class here. I hope these are a blessing to you, Mark