And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
(Acts 9:1-9 KJV)
Here we read the conversion experience of the one who watched the coats of those who stoned Stephen, the first deacon (see Acts 7:58). Saul was wreaking havoc of the church (see Acts 8:1-3). He was, I believe under conviction of the Holy Spirit. Often, when someone is being pricked in the conscience by the Holy Spirit, they respond by either submitting or rebelling. I, personally, believe Saul was rebelling against the Holy Spirit's pricking. I believe the preaching of Stephen in Acts 7 was what stirred this Pharisee's spirit (the Pharisees were the dominant religious sect among the Jews). Something about that anointed deacon got hold of this up and coming religious leader. The anointing destroys the yoke of bondage (see Isaiah 10:27 KJV). The power of the Holy Spirit speaks to the spirit and soul of man. We need this more than anything in the church.
Only the Holy Spirit can break the hold of sin in our lives. Saul's conversion is one of the most notorious in the history of the church. His determination to destroy this sect called "the church" was so intense that he sought official permission to travel to places beyond national borders to find and arrest the believers. Damascus was in Syria. On the road to this destination he had a supernatural encounter with Jesus Himself. Jesus asked him why he was persecuting Him. He also told Saul that it was hard to kick against the pricks. This pricking was the goading of the conviction he was resisting as the Holy Spirit was dealing with him. This encounter with Jesus left him blind and incapable of navigating alone. Jesus told him to rise and go into the city. Obviously, because of his blindness, he had to be escorted into the city. There he remained in a solitary place for three days without food or drink. This was the turning point of Saul's life. This Saul is not to be confused with King Saul of I Samuel in the Old Testament. This Saul would later be called Paul (see Acts 13:9). He would be used of God to write 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament. What the church has become through the centuries has greatly been affected by what Jesus did in this man named Paul. What are you willing to let Jesus do in you? Are you fighting the conviction of the Holy Spirit? Yield to His pricking and let Him open your eyes to a whole new world. Then, and only then, will you see life through God's eyes. Open my eyes Lord Jesus! Show me why I was created!
Rev. Curtis Norris