In Acts 9 we see a man called Saul of Tarsus, one of the most religious men who ever lived, traveling to Damascus. Why was he making this journey?

Saul was so full of hatred toward Jesus that he determinedly persecuted the church of God, even outside of Jewish territory. So he was on his way to Damascus seeking to destroy the Lord’s people.

“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any [Christians], whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1-2).

Consider God’s action toward this man who later became the greatest Christian evangelist who ever lived. Suddenly a stunningly bright light from heaven shone all around him: “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” (Acts 9:3-4). Saul would later say, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1).

What was the purpose of this bright light? To confound Saul? To put him under guilt and condemnation? To destroy him? To pronounce wrath and judgment on him? No—it was to announce that his iniquity was forgiven and his sins were covered.

Let us picture Saul lying prostrate before the shining light and hearing the voice of Jesus. Instead of hearing denunciation from a holy God for the path he was on, heard the startling words, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest!” There was not a word about the wicked manner in which Saul was living—the persecution and threatening. Why was this? Because the One he persecuted was his greatest Friend.

Beloved, this same Jesus offers us the same mercy. Deserving judgment, we hear Him say, “I am Jesus, your Redeemer.”

Thank Him this day for the mercy He has shown to you.