February 09, 2022 – Wednesday
Acts 22:6-11 NIV
6 “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me.
7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’
8 “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.
9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’
11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
Paul, in the verses above, is describing his first meeting with the resurrected Christ, Jesus of Nazareth. He is describing it to a large crowd of Jews who were falsely informed about what Paul was teaching and almost rioted. As a result he was arrested outside the temple in Jerusalem and about to be taken away in chains by Roman soldiers when he asked permission to speak to the crowd. The Roman commander was surprised he spoke in Greek. He must have been further surprised when Paul addressed the crowd in Aramaic.
Paul began by saying (v3-5), I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
That is where we come to our verses for the day which begin when a bright light from heaven that flashed around Paul. As a result, Paul fell to the ground and clearly heard a voice say, Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me? Paul did not understand what was going on and asked, Who are you Lord? The answer he heard was I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting (literally, I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting). Then Paul notes that while his companions saw the light (how could they not), and heard the voice, they did not understand it.
Paul, likely terrified, asked, What shall I do Lord? Jesus answer was direct and to the point, Get up, and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do. And Paul was led by the hand into Damascus because he had been blinded by the brilliance of the light. Paul had been blinded by the brilliance of the light, Here I would like mention that what is translated here as brilliance could also be translated as glory and is in many Bible versions.
With this in mind, we might ask why Paul was blinded and no one else? Perhaps, because when Paul heard his name being called, he looked directly at the light to ask his question, Who are you, Lord, knowing it was from God from what he saw. Recall the transfiguration of Christ in Matthew, Mark, and Luke where (Matthew 17:2), There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. That was before His resurrection, when apparently, He shone even more brightly, especially with His attention focused upon Paul. Recall also what happened to Moses when He was in the presence of God (Exodus 34:29-35), when he came down from Mount Sinai, his face was so radiant others were afraid to come near him.
Prayer: Father God, Let us be totally aware when You speak to us, whether it be through Your word, in a quiet voice during prayer or song, or even with a brilliant glorious light. Let us not only be aware, but as receptive as Paul was when Jesus spoke to him. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton