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Paul Part 4 – Paul’s Conversion


You are looking at the original Damascus Gate at Jerusalem.  Paul left from here to devastate the Christians in Damascus.

It was on one of these persecuting excursions that the course of Paul’s life was spectacularly and completely changed.

Hearing that there were Christians in Damascus, he sought from the high priest letters—evidently letters of extradition—authorizing him to arrest and bring to Jerusalem any Christian found in that city (Acts 9:1, 2).

Hnd 9:1  Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest

Hnd 9:2  and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

There are 3 accounts of subsequent experiences on that journey. Listen to the first one:

Hnd 9:3  As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.

Hnd 9:4  Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

Hnd 9:5  And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

Hnd 9:6  So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Hnd 9:7  And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.

Hnd 9:8  Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.

Hnd 9:9  And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

This one was written in the third person.

The two others (22:4–11; 26:9–18.) are given by Paul himself.

The one to a Jewish mob in Jerusalem, the other to King Agrippa and his sister, Bernice.

As Paul approached Damascus at midday with a company of men to aid him in his murderous designs, he was suddenly surrounded by a blinding light, brighter than the sun.

You can visit a place close to Damascus which commemorates his conversion experience.

Paul and his companions fell to the earth (ch 26:14), and a voice, identifying its owner as Jesus of Nazareth, inquired, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” adding, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”

Paul, overwhelmed by the experience, asked what he was to do, upon which Jesus informed him that he was to become a witness for Him to the Gentiles (vs 16, 17).

He was instructed to go into Damascus, where he would receive further information.

Meanwhile his amazed and fearful companions, who had arisen from the ground (see ch 9:7), understood nothing of what was taking place, for although they saw the light and heard the words of Jesus, they could not understand what was being said (cf. chs 9:7; 22:9).

Rising to his feet, Paul discovered that he was blind.

In that condition Paul was led by his companions to the home of a certain Judas in Damascus, where he stayed 3 days without food or drink.

Hnd 9:8  Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.

Hnd 9:9  And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

While Paul was engaged in prayer, Jesus appeared in vision to one Ananias and directed him to the home of Judas, on the “street which is called Straight,” where he would find Paul, who had been given a vision of his coming.

Ananias respectfully reminded Jesus of Paul’s acts of persecution, but was informed that the erstwhile persecutor had been chosen of God (vs 11–16).

nd 9:11  So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.

Hnd 9:12  And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”

Hnd 9:13  Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.

Hnd 9:14  And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”

Hnd 9:15  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

Hnd 9:16  For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

Following instructions, Ananias found Paul and laid his hands upon him, whereupon Paul’s sight was immediately restored and he received the gift of the Holy Spirit and was baptized (vs 17, 18).

nd 9:17  And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Hnd 9:18  Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

When you visit Damascus you experience the story of Paul just a little more.

How long Paul remained in Damascus after this is not known. The record seems to indicate that it was a brief period (Acts 9:19).

Hnd 9:19  So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.

We know that he associated with the Christians there. Also, true to his character—and to the wonderment of those who knew him—he began to preach in the synagogues the Christ he had once vilified but had recently come to worship.

Hnd 9:20  Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.

Hnd 9:21  Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”

How powerful was his message?

Hnd 9:22  But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

So powerfully and convincingly did he preach that none could defeat his logic or deny his power.

Updated on 21st Mar 2022

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