“Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. Acts 22:8.
“‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. Acts 22:10
When Jesus knocked Saul down, he asked two cardinal questions- who are you, Lord? And what shall I do, Lord?
Do you know why God chose Saul, an arch-enemy of Jesus and Christians to become an apostle who would take the Gospel of Jesus to the then-unknown world of Gentiles and their kings? I do not know. However, the truth is God chose him for this big and huge task. 11 disciples followed Jesus and were the closest disciples of Jesus. They did not get this unusual privilege of taking the Gospel to the gentiles and their kings, but one who was an enemy of Jesus and the Gospel got it. Mind-boggling, right?
No doubt, Saul was proud and arrogant. He used to breathe murderous threats against the disciples of Jesus. He was zealous for God because he was a strict Jew who studied the scripture under Gamaliel and accurately trained in the old testament scriptures. He went to the High Priests and asked for an approval letter to arrest and drag men and women who were the followers of Jesus and arrested them. He tortured and killed many. He testified he persecuted the follower of Jesus to their death. (Acts 22).
You see God had to knock him down to the ground to strip him off his pride and arrogance, which he did when Saul was on his way to Damascus to arrest the believers. Suddenly as he was walking a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice that said to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” First question -Saul asked, “who are you, Lord?” His response “Lord” shows his pride and arrogance were knocked down successfully by Jesus. Saul asked a second important question, “what shall I do Lord?” Jesus replied to both of his questions. Jesus said, “ I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, no get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” This was the command of Jesus after knocking him down on his way to Damascus. Saul got up from the ground. When he opened his eyes he could see nothing. People helped him to walk into Damascus. He was blind for three days and did not eat or drink anything.
By the way, these are the two questions we all must ask Jesus. Who are you, Lord? and What shall I do Lord? First questions clarify who Jesus is to you. The second question reveals what is His plan for your life.
On a side note, Lord appeared to Ananias and said to him to go and visit Saul. However, Ananias was afraid to meet Saul because he heard many reports about the harm Saul had done to Christians. The Lord said to Ananias this and it is a noteworthy statement. He said, “Go! This man (referring to Saul) is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:15-16).
Beloved, how things turned around in minutes/hours and days? A hard man, full of pride and arrogant who hated the genuine and true Christian believers, God chose him to the apostle to the Gentiles, their kings, and Israel. Moreover, He was chosen to suffer much for the sake of the name of Jesus.
Later he wrote to Timothy in 1st Timothy 1:8-17 these words, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Each of the words of his testimony is important to think over. Paul admits he was a blasphemer, persecutor, violent man. He was shown mercy. The grace of our Lord was poured out on him abundantly. He says Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners- of whom he recognized he was the worst sinner. He is an example for anyone who is out there who thirsts for God’s immense patience. He ended up attributing high worth to God when he summed up.
The lesson is this – If God would forgive Saul of Tarsus he would forgive you if you repent and call upon the name of Jesus. Moreover, Jesus would commission you by choosing you as a chosen vessel for his name and glory for the rest of your life.
Are you ready? Let God finish his work of knocking you down. God does His miracles after breaking. God would prove to you He is the God of impossible. He did this to Saul. Truly, without breaking no call for His work and ministry happens. Your breaking and your right response to His breaking would determine what you are going to do for Him for the rest of your life.
“Father in heaven, I know you sent your Son, Jesus, from heaven to redeem me from my sins and shortcomings. I know you knocked Saul down and stripped off his pride and turned him around and used him as an honorable vessel for your name. May I am not ashamed when you break me. Lord, help me and give me the strength to go through the breaking process. May I be faithful through it all. I am confused and afraid. However, I lean on you for you to come for my rescue with your wonderworking hands. Lord Jesus, I call upon your name for help and salvation. In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.”