Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Acts 9:1-9 “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of he Lord, went unto the high priest,
And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.”
For how long had God been dealing with Saul, I don’t know.
Maybe from the time of John the Baptizer.
Surely, when hearing all the things that Jesus did: The Sermon on the Mount, the Parables, the miracles, and how many people were healed and cured from demon possession. Then there was His raising Lazarus.
All these things could not be done without God being with Him. He knew the scriptures and just how many Christ had fulfilled.
Whether he was in Jerusalem at the time of Christ’s crucifixion or not; he would have been well informed as a Pharisee, of what was going on.
As he later proclaimed: (Acts 26:26) “…for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.”
And when he was at the execution of Stephen, he knew how wrong it was; and that Stephen’s calling on the Lord Jesus was right. But when Stephen forgave him, it made him exceeding mad against any of this Way.
“Who did he think he was, forgiving me? I have followed the law all my life…I am blameless.(Phil. 3:5-6). I don’t need forgiving. I’ll show everyone just how wrong these people ,of this Way, are. I’ll get them to give up this Christ, they trust in.”
So, men and women he carried off to prison, “and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme: and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities” (Acts 26:10-11)
The more God dealt with Saul, the madder he got.
As God told him on the road to Damascus; “…it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
The “pricks” here is, in the Greek, the goad. A sharp point on a long stick that was use to keep the ox moving forward.
God had been moving Saul forward to this meeting, since the day he decided that he would fight against what he knew was right.
Stephen had been right…those men and women he had imprisoned and forced to choose between Christ and their life, had been right.
But he refused to see it. God was saying, “This is for you”
And Saul was saying, “I’ll have no part in it. In fact, I will destroy it!”
And he had set out vigorously to do just that. How many had testified by their lives
That Jesus was the Son of God? How much of the light of God, he had refused?
Now that Jerusalem had been shaken…some Christians killed, others had scattered abroad. (Acts 8:4) “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.”
Saul wanted to go after others of this Way, and to throw them in prison, too, at Jerusalem.
Until….God had goaded him far enough, and then…Christ Jesus struck him down, manifested Himself to him in great light, and spoke.
At this place; the place God chose; Saul was given an ultimatum.
“Saul, Saul, you have been persecuting Me when you have struck out at My disciples. I am speaking to you now, plainly. Stop fighting against Me, for you cannot destroy
Me; but I can destroy you.”
Completely helpless, no more proud boasts of who he is or what he will do; nothing else he could do! But to yield or perish in his rebellion.
“Who art thou, Lord?” Here is a very good beginning…Saul calls Him, Lord.
He does not know His Name, but he knows He is Lord.
And Jesus introduces Himself: “I am Jesus”. He does not say anymore. No other name is needed.
Paul later declares, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
The Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
This caused this rebel to “tremble”. The one who had been exceedingly mad…now became exceedingly afraid.
And in fear, he said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Simply:
“What can I do to make myself ,or this outcome different? I had no intention of fighting against God; so tell me what I can do to rectify this foolishness.”
And God never leaves one who truly wants to know His Will, in doubt.
“Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”
Don’t worry, Saul; you have placed yourself in my hands now…I will guide, and direct,
In My way.
And so He did.
Paul could say, (2 Cor. 2:11) “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”
Paul knew that terror in full amount, for the light he sinned against was great.
(Therefore, I believe, God shown that light in full amount on Saul when God knocked him down. Acts 26:13 “…I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me…”)
Are we, too, being goaded into knowing “the terror of the Lord”, because He has been speaking unto us, and we are refusing to hear? He has been showing us light, and we have refused to look and see?
Well, if this happens, It should lead to; “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
For what Christ Jesus wants for us, what His purpose for us is?
Is for us, as Saul here,to yield to Him and place ourselves in His hands and get His guidance.