“On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
“So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.
Before King Agrippa and Festus, the Roman Governor Paul tells his story. It is such a story that we get it three times in Acts. It’s the classic story of ‘seeing the light’. Actually, it is as much about hearing a voice as seeing a light. It is a conversion story, i.e. Paul does not just change his mind about Jesus, but he changes his entire way of life. Paul changes from his old feelings of anger and hatred to love and openness, he turns from the dark to the light, he is transformed from being a persecutor of Christians to a proclaimer of Christian truth.
This is a good time for us to pause and think about our life. What sort of changes does following Jesus involve? Have we heard the voice of God talking about his purpose for us? How deep is our conversation?
The new Paul lived his new life in Damascus, Jerusalem, and throughout Judea. I am trying to live my new life out in my family, in my local community, and in the shared ministry of my church. So where is your Damascus and Jerusalem?
‘After that King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision’.