How did we get here…(Saul)
Saul had learned the Scriptures early from a top teacher
Was living the life that everyone expected him to live
Was well respected by the established synagogues
WAS NOT INTERESTED IN / VIOLENTLY OPPOSED TO HAVING HIS LIFE CONTROLLED BY JESUS or the teachings of Christ which called for living other than the Pharisees
Saul was on an assignment from the Chief Priests to root out all of the Jesus followers / Christians.
Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
Confronted with the person (not the essence) of Christ!
You are headed the wrong direction
Your efforts are futile
You were created to glorify God
“In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Paul’s companions saw a light and heard a noise but only Paul experienced the vision itself.
immediately getting out of the driver’s seat (incapacitated to drive/lead/continue) falls off his horse
(aka) getting out of the driver’s seat (incapacitated to drive/lead/continue) falls off his horse
And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
If Christ suffered, we too will suffer.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
2 Cor 4.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
“When you survey the wondrous cross
on which the King of Glory died
Your richest gains you will count as lost
and pour contempt on all your pride”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
YOU ARE BLESSED, when you are persecuted - you are not alone!
CHRIST IS THE ONLY CITIZEN OF HEAVEN WHO FACED DEATH ALONE…and He did it for the salvation of us for the glory of His Father.