The Pharisee called Saul gripped the satchel containing the Sanhedrin’s arrest warrant more tightly as he considered the righteous course that lay before him. The heretics known as “The Way”—those who believed that Jesus, a man from the tiny town of Nazareth, was the promised Messiah—had to be stopped before their destructive teachings could infect more Jewish minds. To Saul’s frustration, even though many had fled to Damascus after the recent crackdown throughout Jerusalem, their flight had only served to spread their blasphemous message further!
The journey to Damascus had been long—around a week—but at last, Saul could hear the buzz of city life drifting across the plateau. He shielded his eyes from the sun for a moment to look across the well-tilled stretches of farmland—
Suddenly, a light so dazzling that it could only have come from heaven itself flashed around him, searing his eyes and causing him to fall to the ground in astonishment and fear. Even more terrifying was the voice that accompanied it.
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
Trembling, he replied, “Who are you, Lord?”
God spoke again: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
At that moment, though he was blind, Saul could finally see.
(adapted from Acts 9:1-6)
Saul, later known as Paul, would go on to fervently preach the very same Message he had dragged others to prison for. From reading the account of his ministry as well as his letters that compose a large portion of the New Testament, we can see and take encouragement in the reality that God was able to transform Saul—a headstrong Pharisee—into Paul, His messenger to all of the known world. And if God chose to work through someone like Paul, who self-identified as the worst of all sinners (1 Timothy 1:15-16), we know He can choose to work through us, too.