The Conversion of Saul

In Your Bible: Acts 9:1-19

The stunning record of Saul’s encounter on the road to Damascus may be the most famous conversion story in the New Testament. Saul had a “talking to” from the Lord Jesus Christ. God stopped Saul, humbled him, healed him, and then empowered him with a new task.

The Encounter

Damascus was a walk of at least 7 to 10 days from Jerusalem. The roadway was a famous trade route, with rest stops about 5-10 miles apart. Notably this walk would include a Sabbath with a day’s rest (since no work or walk a significant distance could be done on the Sabbath).

Finally, at mid-day, Saul was about to enter the city . . . Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” (Acts 9:4b-5a NASB). Saul fell to the ground in fear.

Immediately Saul heard the answer, “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. . .” (Acts 9:6 Message). Saul could not see and was led to Damascus holding the hand of one travelling with him. Saul didn’t eat or drink for three days.

God’s Provision for Saul

Ananias, a devout believer, had a vision in which the Lord told him to go to Saul. He must pray for him to regain his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ananias knew about Saul’s activity and was afraid to take on this task. But he did as God directed.

God chose Saul to bear God’s name to the Gentiles, Kings and the Sons of Israel. Imagine how Saul felt when Ananias approached him to pray and addressed him as Brother Saul (see Acts 9:17). God stopped Saul, humbled him, healed him, and then empowered him with a new task.

Isn’t that like believers today? When we get instructions from the Lord, we may be reluctant to act, BUT need to follow what he says. It may be as simple as the word “GO!” Or it may be even more difficult! He’s promised to continue guiding us if we trust Him. Yes, he knows what is best for us.

Prayer: Father, please give me the strength and faith to follow your guidance.

Questions: Has the Lord told you to do something which may have seemed outrageous? How did you respond?

1 thought on “The Conversion of Saul

  1. I would like to add something to your writing above. Saul was hated, in every sense of the word. The Christians feared him, because he was sent to persecute them….. to make them prisoners and haul them back to Jerusalem to stand trial in front of the Jewish leaders.

    Further, he was not alone on that stretch of road. There were other men with Saul when the Lord spoke to him. They could hear speaking but couldn’t understand what was being said.

    Then Saul, who had fallen to the ground, stood up and was blind. They knew they had witnessed a miracle, but had no idea what it was. In the tradition of that day, when something miraculous happened (even something minor) Jews would fast for three days to meditate on the significance of its meaning. This was overly traumatic to Saul, as his companions were dumbfounded and probably told him what they saw (or didn’t). They took him to an inn where he could fast for three days without fear of persecution. (Numbers 3, 5 and 7 are very significant to the Jew)

    Now, Ananias had his vision, but he was a Christian. He “knew” this Saul and knew he was in danger. That’s why he questioned the Lord in his vision, because he really didn’t want to die or be taken prisoner.

    So, not only do we have Saul making a conversion, but we have Ananias putting his trust in the Lord to be his vessel.

    Ananias is the most prominent for trusting in the Lord, but we tend to forget to listen and become more and more like Saul. We have to be shown the blindness we have accumulated, and then put back on the path that God has planned for us to take.

    Good words, Brother.

    Michael McCrady

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