“The young man who persecutes the Jesus crowd wants permission to take his crusade to Damascus. He vows to jail them all. He actually thinks he will be able to put out this ‘Jesus fire.’”Imagine the scene as Saul and his band of men rode out of Jerusalem toward their next mission. They were cheered on their way by the high priest and all the scribes and Pharisees. But then, just outside the township of Damascus, the radiant gleam of mercy fell on Saul (see Acts 9).
THIS IS JESUS!
How did mercy present itself to this lost, misguided man? It did not try to confound him. It did not accuse him. It did not try to destroy him. Instead, the fully paid, free mercy of the Lord laid Saul facedown on the ground. And a voice spoke to him, saying, “Saul, Saul, this is Jesus. Why are you persecuting Me?”
Christ’s message to this zealot was clear: “It is Me you are touching, Saul. With every Christian you have jailed, you have done it to Me.”
REVELATION AND REDEMPTION
Saul was overwhelmed by this revelation. Temporarily stricken blind, he was led to the home of a praying, Spirit-filled man in Damascus named Ananias. In a small room there, Saul called on the name of Jesus. Ananias boldly explained to him the high cost of the mercy he had received and told him, “Now, Saul, you are going to suffer for His name’s sake.”
With a stricken conscience, Saul surely thought back to the stoning of Stephen, the many believers he had thrown into jail, and the multitudes he had abused. But this man received mercy that day!