We first meet Saul at the stoning of Stephen. Acts 8:1, “And Saul approved of his execution.” Chapter 9 begins, “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples…” Stephen’s passionate witness to Christ had only inflamed Saul’s sense of urgency that this sect must be snuffed out.
With letters from authorities in Jerusalem in hand he was on his way to Damascus when Jesus met him with a blinding light that knocked him to the ground. Now blinded by Jesus, Jesus opened his eyes of faith. At Jesus direction he sought out a follower of the Way named Ananias to whom the Lord had also spoken directing him to seek Saul. At first Ananias was reluctant. But when he found Saul, he blessed him with the Holy Spirit. Saul regained his sight. With his new and renewed eyesight, he was baptized.
Our conversion may not have been so dramatic. However, the same elements, as those in Saul’s case, were present. Jesus confronted a sinner who was in open rebellion against him. The eyes of our faith were still blind. Yet, in our baptism the sinful person was drowned in baptism and also filled with the Holy Spirit.
Immediately following his baptism Saul began to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God. “Jesus is the Christ,” was his message. How long ago were we baptized? What message do we proclaim?
Almighty God, grant us ever to rejoice in the saving light of Your Gospel and, following the example of the apostle Paul, to spread it to the end of the earth; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.