When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.
So I said, Who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
Paul had refused to believe that Jesus was the Messiah and had risen from the dead and was alive. He was not persuaded by a chain of arguments but by the fact itself: his own encounter with the risen Lord.
In this third report of the change in his life Paul told Agrippa and Festus of the commission the Lord had given him to the Gentiles. The heathen lived in darkness and needed light about God Himself and the way of salvation. Through sin they were under the power of Satan and needed to be freed from it. They would receive forgiveness of their sins, if they turned to God. And they would share the rich, eternal inheritance reserved for believers.
Thus out of the Pharisee who had fought for the Jews’ special privileges Paul had become the apostle for the nations of the world.
(to be continued next Sunday)