“Now as he traveled on, he came near to Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And he fell to the ground. Then he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me. And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting.” Acts 9:3-4 Amplified
As we continue on with our study of Acts, we see that Saul is continuing with his persecution of the new church. He has gone to the high priest of the temple in Jerusalem and requested letters so that he can travel to other areas where the Christians have fled.
In our verse today he finally meets the Lord Jesus and what a dramatic conversion it is. Saul knows that the flash of light from heaven knocking him to the ground is God, yet he asks, Who are You? God had never appeared to men, the closest anyone has ever seen of God himself is when God allowed Moses to see his back (Exodus 33:23). We have to presume that Jesus appeared to Saul in his human form and thus Saul wanted to know Who He was. Jesus then told Saul, “It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to offer vain and perilous resistance.” Saul then asked Jesus what to do and he was told to go to Damascus and he would be instructed further.
Though none of us were likely every persecutors of the church we still all lived in opposition to God’s will. Simply being born with the sin nature in us makes us prone to do what’s best for us which may not necessarily be what is pleasing to God. Even though Paul was sincerely doing what he thought God wanted in persecuting this new belief, there may have also been a bit of arrogance and pride in him as well.
We should all be careful in working for the Lord that we don’t allow the work to become more important then the Master. It’s good to periodically pull back from any Christian work and evaluate our motives. If not we may end up knocked to the ground by the Lord.