October 9, 2003 • By Ed Wrather
Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” - Acts 9:1-5.
A thief in the Vancouver area, received a little surprise while trying to make off with a roll of copper wire. The wire was connected to a generator that was running, and when the thief tried to disconnect the wire; his shoes were blown off, and he was burned. He received a 27,000-volt electrical shock. He was found wandering in a nearby railroad yard without shoes, and with second-degree burns. The 41-year-old man is recovering from his injuries but will face criminal charges. According to police, the man is “well known” to them.
You have to wonder, if an unexpected 27,000-volt jolt that blows your shoes off, is enough to make a career criminal change his vocation? Certainly, it should give him something to think about. Saul, prior to his conversion had an experience that was just as shocking. Saul was on his way to persecute more Christians in Damascus, believing that he was serving God in doing so. However, God intervened in his life. The Bible says, “…suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.” That is an understatement! Because the light, which Saul encountered, was so bright it blinded him.
Saul was headed in one direction, and when he encountered the resurrected Christ, the direction of his life was completely changed. The shock of this encounter with Christ was so great, that Saul eventually became the apostle Paul, and a part of the group that he had been persecuting, Paul was not the first, and not the last, to have the direction of their lives radically changed by a shocking encounter with Christ. Paul’s life was changed, when he came to understand that he had been wrong in persecuting Christians, and in his heart committed himself to follow Christ.
For some people it might take more than a 27,000-volt jolt to change the course of their lives. What they really need is an encounter with the living Lord Jesus. What about you? What would it take to change the course of your life?