Saul on the Road to Damascus

Saul / Paul converted  on the road to Damascus

Saul on the Road to Damascus

Acts 9:3-6 Saul on the Road to Damascus

Acts 9:7-9 The Conversion of Saul
ACTS 9:3-4  3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

Had Saul been riding a horse or walking on the road to Damascus?
Some have argued that Saul must have been riding a horse, reasoning that since the road from Jerusalem to Damascus covered over 135 miles (220 kilometers), he would have wanted to ride a horse to get to Damascus faster. But Acts 9:4 simply state that Saul "fell to the ground," not that he fell off a horse. Also, the men who were on the road with Saul "stood" (Acts 9:7 below) speechless, which means that they were on foot; since a group can travel only as fast as its slowest member, having had companions on foot counters the speculation that Saul rode a horse to get to Damascus faster. Also, had there been even one horse among them, it would have been easier to put the blinded Saul (see below) on the horse and lead it, which can see, by its rein, rather than lead a blinded Saul to walk on the road. Yet Acts 9:8 (below) says, "they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus."

Who said to Saul, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4)?
Jesus: "I am Jesus" (Acts 9:5 below).

Since Jesus already had ascended to heaven, did He come back for a visit before His second coming?
No, a "light shone... from heaven" (Acts 9:3) just as Saul heard Jesus, so the Lord was speaking from heaven.

Is it accurate to say that Saul persecuted Jesus?
Since Christians are the "Body of Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:27), when Saul persecuted Christians, he was persecuting Jesus.

How is this different today?
It isn't. Anyone who persecutes a Christian is persecuting Jesus.

ACTS 9:5-6  5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

What did Jesus mean by, "It is hard for you to kick against the goads" (Acts 9:5)?
See Kick Against the Goads.

What is remarkable about the exchange between Jesus and Saul?
It's brevity and efficiency. There is no long and heated argument as there had been between Jesus and the Pharisees (see I Am the Light of the World).

Why not?
Saul recognized both his sins and the Lordship of Jesus. The "light that shone around him" (Acts 9:3) wasn't ordinary light. It was "from heaven" (Acts 9:3) and had supernatural power that had knocked him to the ground. Just as Saul was wondering about the cause of what had just happened, Jesus gave him the answer: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4) The people he had been persecuting were the followers of Jesus... 'To whom did this voice belong?' Hearing “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5) must have crushed Saul. He now knew that Jesus is who the Christians have been saying He is, and that he - Saul - had been committing murder. The goading of his conscience when he imprisoned and killed Christians had been for a reason. 'Did Jesus know that?' “It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 9:5). Saul no longer knew what to do next, but he knew one thing: Jesus is Lord - “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (Acts 9:6) - and would now follow His instruction: “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6).

How does this differ from the exchange Jesus has with sinners today?
It isn't. There aren't 'small' sinners and 'great' sinners, but just sinners. If we admit our sins and accept Jesus as our Lord, the discussion is short. It's only when we try to deny our sins or the Lordship of Jesus that the discussion and the goading drags on.

How would you characterize your conversation with Jesus?