Who are you, Lord?
For hundreds of years people have asked one another this question concerning Jesus. Some argue that He is no one important. Others have given their life believing that He is the Savior of the world. Still others are indifferent, they could care less. But when Saul, the chief persecutor of the first century church was confronted by a light so bright it blinded him, he cried out in fear saying, “Who are you, Lord?” Now how did Saul know this was a person and not some trick his imagination was playing on him? All who were travelling with him that day also saw the light, but only he heard the voice speaking to him from out of the light. What did the people with Saul think about all of this? Did they think Saul was nuts for talking to a light? The bible doesn’t say, but it does record Saul’s conversation and the conversation of the One speaking to him from out of the light.
When the light appeared, the horse Saul was riding bucked and threw him to the ground where he landed on his backside. Saul was as blind as a bat by this time. The One in the light said to Saul, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” The story tells us Saul was on his way to Damascus in pursuit of Christians, but the One speaking from out of the light said to Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?” To the mind of the natural man, this doesn’t make sense. How can one man be in pursuit of one group of people, but yet be accused of persecuting someone else? As a matter of fact, the ‘voice from the light’ never mentions the people Saul was actively pursuing to throw into jail, He just mentions Himself as being the one persecuted. So, what are we to make of this statement? What the One in the light was telling Saul in this one sentence statement is, though he and people who pursue Christians think they are pursuing man, they are actually pursuing Christ and striking out at the One who lives in the Christians. Does this make sense? When people talk about Christians like they are dogs, they are in reality talking about Christ. When we Christians understand those people who are persecuting us are striking out at the One who lives in us and are doing so under the direction of their father, Satan, we see the harsh realities of this spiritual war we are fighting. People all around the world are dying daily at the hand of men who think they are killing Christians, when according to this sentence the devil in the persecutors are striking out at the Lord who lives in the Christian, but doing so through the hand of man. What fools we are! We understand so very little about the operation of the kingdom of God, but yet we profess to be experts in our own rights. If we understood how God’s kingdom operates we would learn to keep our mouths shut and mind our own business, rather than trying to destroy our fellow-man with our harsh words and criticisms. These hurtful things we say are not of God, they are of the devil, and just one of his many methods he uses to fight against the One who lives in us.
Folks, there is a multilayered meaning in the statement, “Why are you persecuting me?” It indicates there is spiritual warfare going on around us all the time. I’m sure you realize Satan does not want to be cast into hell, no one in their right mind does, so he is fighting for all he is worth to keep from going, but the only way he can win against Christ is to kill off mankind. This he will do in whatever way he can. Whether it is by sickness, accident, warfare, martyrdom, starvation, etc., it makes no difference to Satan how a person dies, just as long as we die. When a human being dies without Christ in their life they are lost forever and Christ hurts because He died for all of mankind, not just a few. When a person is in-Christ, only their physical body dies, but as far as Satan is concerned when the body is dead, we are out of his hair. He doesn’t care whether we are lost or saved, going to heaven or hell, when we are dead we can no longer hurt him and thwart his efforts against other men. But as long as we have breath in our body we are a danger to him and his kingdom and he will do everything within his power to keep his kingdom intact for as long as he can.
Finally, Jesus reveals to Saul who he is talking to, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Why was it important for Jesus to reveal Himself to this persecutor? Because Jesus had plans for this man, “Arise 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 unto 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, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and as an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in men.” Unless this incident on the Damascus road had taken place it is highly doubtful there would be a Gentile church on the earth today who calls Jesus, Lord. If not for the Jewish people there would be no bible, no scripture, no knowledge of God in America or any other part of the world. If not for the Jewish people we would all be idol-worshippers like most of the other countries of the world. We would not be called a Christian nation, the Land of the Free, America the Beautiful, or One nation under God. None of those things would have taken place unless this event took place on the Damascus Road that eventful day.
When Jesus appeared to Saul on the Damascus Road we were on His mind. Jesus wasn’t just thinking about saving the soul of Saul that day, He was thinking about saving the soul of a multitude of people in every age that would follow. We know this is true because Jesus didn’t send Saul to the Jews, He sent him to spread His gospel among the Gentile Nations of which we are one. No, we don’t understand God, but in spite of our lack of knowledge, God still works in the world to bring as many people into His kingdom as will allow Him to do so. DThrash