Paul the Friend of Jesus
Saul and his companions traveled on the road to Damascus, intending to persecute the Christians. But suddenly a light appeared out of heaven and shone on Saul. Then a voice came out of heaven and said to him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul was confused. He did not know who was talking. He asked, “Who are you?” The voice from heaven had come from Jesus. Jesus replied to Paul, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (read Acts 9:1-9).
Saul was shocked. He had thought that Jesus was a sinner who was leading the Jewish people away from God. On the road to Damascus, he realized that he had been wrong. He realized that Jesus was exactly who He had claimed to be—the Son of God. Saul realized that he had been fighting against the Son of God. Saul fell to the ground. He was scared and trembling. He wanted to know how he could make things right with God and Jesus. He asked Jesus, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Jesus told Saul to go into Damascus and there he would be told what to do. When Saul arose to go to Damascus, he realized that the light had blinded him.
For three days, Saul fasted and prayed to God. He wanted to be right with God, so he waited patiently for someone to tell him what he must do to be forgiven of his sins. On the third day, a Christian named Ananias visited him. Ananias told Saul that Jesus had sent him to heal Saul of his blindness and tell him what he needed to do to be saved. As Ananias was talking to Saul, things like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. Ananias then said to him, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Saul had not been saved when he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, and he was not saved when he prayed and fasted for three days. He was saved and his sins were forgiven only when he obeyed Jesus by being baptized for the forgiveness of his sins.
Soon after his conversion, Saul’s name was changed to Paul. He spent the rest of his life preaching about Jesus and converting others to Christianity. History tells us that Paul died as a martyr for his faith in Jesus Christ. The life of Paul shows us how powerful Jesus’ love is. The love of Jesus turned the dangerous murderer Saul into the kind and brave apostle Paul.