Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. (Acts 9:1-5a)
I have a very close friend who is a cancer survivor, but she lives in fear the cancer has or will return. On top of that she has an infection that won’t go away with conventional treatment, so she is scheduled for surgery next week. She and I pray every day for her healing that hasn’t happened yet, and she is discouraged because God hasn’t answered our prayers. I think she’s asking the question, “Who are you, Lord?”
Saul didn’t ask, “Who are you?” He knew the encounter was from God. But he didn’t know who God was. Saul loved God and was in Jerusalem learning about Him from a Biblical scholar. But Saul didn’t know God personally through Jesus. Deep down Paul knew his murderous threats and authorization of murder was wrong, but he had already condoned the murder of Stephen, so he justified it in his mind, fortified the wall around his heart, and continued his threats more fervently.
Jesus could’ve appeared to Saul as a man as He did to His apostles after the resurrection. But he appeared as a blinding light to say, “I am the light in your darkness.” Saul was well educated, had money and influence, was a member of the Sanhedrin, and a Pharisee. He had no clue he was living in darkness. Most of us also live in darkness because we don’t know who Jesus is. Yes, every Christian knows Jesus is our savior and saves us from our wrongdoings and from others’ sins against us.
But are we looking into the darkness of our souls to see what is preventing us from being healthy, getting a promotion, restoring a friendship, getting out of debt. or beating a bad habit. Saul becomes Paul the apostle when he can answer his question, “Who are you, Lord?”
Jesus doesn’t snap his fingers and change us immediately. He wants us to need him to make the change. As we will see, Paul remains in darkness for three days until he does something for Jesus. Jesus wants us to need, walk with, trust, and obey Him.
Are we doing all we can to be healthy, get a promotion, restore a friendship, or get out of debt. Paul finds one answer to his question. Jesus is the Lord who comforts and helps us do all we can to change and then steps in to do the supernatural.
Knowing who Jesus is is a life-long process. He reveals himself one obstacle at a time.
Heavenly Father, I praise you for sending Jesus, the light in my darkness. Tell me what I can do to change. Help me obey so Jesus will step in and do the supernatural. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.