“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. (Acts 9)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Saul was a Pharisee. He was the top student in his class. An expert in the Law of Moses and the Scriptures. A rising star in Judaism. He was zealous for the Lord, all the way to the point of having Christians put to death for following Jesus. All of Saul’s zeal was leading him to hell. But the Lord Jesus appears to Saul on the road to Damascus. Saul is knocked off his high horse. Struck blind by the light from heaven. Saul’s religion is false. Judaism was not to be about working your way to heaven. But sadly, that is what it became. Because they perverted the Word of God. They forgot about God’s promise of the Savior. (Genesis 3:15)
All of Saul’s attempts to reach God by what he did failed. The Crucified and Risen Lord Jesus comes down out of heaven to rescue Saul. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2)
Jesus’ blood shed on Calvary’s Cross is for Paul, for you, and for the life of the world. Jesus rising from the dead brings life everlasting to sinners. Saul’s, now Paul’s, world has completely changed. No longer is he on the road to hell but instead a baptized Child of God. Paul sees things aright in the world. The scales have fallen from his eyes to see the gift of salvation in Christ alone.
Paul rejoices in God’s gift of faith in Christ — as the greatest of all gifts. The surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith — that I may know him and the power of his resurrection. (Philippians 3)
Conversion is the Lord’s work alone. As Luther teaches in the Catechism: By nature I am spiritually blind, dead, and an enemy of God, “I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him.” (Eph. 2:1, Ro. 8:7 & 1 Cor. 12:3) “The Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel and enlightened me with His gifts.” God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4) The Holy Spirit is at work through God’s Word and Sacraments, calling sinners out of the darkness of sin into God’s glorious light. I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. (Romans 1)
Jesus came to Paul in a miraculous way on the road to Damascus. The Risen Lord Jesus came from heaven down to earth for you in a miraculous way when you were baptized. Calling you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. (Mark 16) Jesus is ringing in your ears and hearts by the Holy Spirit’s power in the Word. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10)
There is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15) Rejoice that the Lord brought Saul/Paul to faith in Christ. Rejoice in the Lord calling you to faith by the Gospel. Pray that your family, friends and neighbors would hear and believe the Good News of Jesus. Rejoice in Jesus coming to you in a miraculous way by the power of His Word. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Chief of Sinners Though I Be LSB 611:1
Chief of sinners though I be, Jesus shed His blood for me,
Died that I might live on high, Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine, I am His, and He is mine.