The Damascus Road

David Bast

Read: Acts 9:1-9

Who are you, Lord? (v. 5)

The zealous young man, born to Jewish parents in the Roman colony of Tarsus in Asia Minor, educated in Jerusalem under Israel’s greatest rabbis, was on the fast track to success. He was a rigid defender of Jewish tradition. Like a secret police agent, he hunted down Christians throughout Jerusalem and dragged them before the authorities, convinced that in so doing he was pleasing God. He even got permission to carry on his inquisition elsewhere. So one day he set out for Damascus.

He never made it there. At least, Saul of Tarsus never did. What happened on that journey changed him forever, and altered the course of world history. There is no humanistic explanation that can account for the radical change in Paul’s faith and life any more than there is a satisfactory humanistic explanation of Jesus’ resurrection. The only explanation for what happened on the road to Damascus—as in the empty tomb—is the supernatural power of God.

Years later Paul would say that what he experienced on the Damascus road was not a vision or imaginary encounter. It was an actual appearance of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, the last such appearance to his apostles (1 Cor. 15:8). So Paul’s conversion was in one sense unique. But in another sense what happened to Paul is the same thing that happens to every Christian. By God’s grace we meet the living Christ, and become his forever. —David Bast

Prayer: Jesus, let me see you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly.