Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Road to Damascus

“As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,” Acts 9:3-5

Perhaps most of us have heard of the Road to Damascus.  We know that it was there that Saul – persecutor of the church came face to face with the power and presence of the risen Son of God, Jesus Christ.  Transformed by his encounter with Christ, Saul – soon to be renamed Paul, rose from where he had fallen on the road blinded, yet seeing clearer than he had ever seen before in his life.  Now he could see the true condition of his soul in light of the shed blood of Jesus.  Now he could see God’s plan for humanity, and more personally, God’s plan for himself.  

No Quick Trip
One of the things that I find very interesting about the road from Jerusalem to Damascus is that it was not a quick trip.  If Paul were to take the trip today travelling on modern highways, the distance between the two cities is estimated to be some 135 miles.  That is rather staggering to me for Paul didn’t climb into his car…a journey that would have cost him a couple of hours to make.  He didn’t even have a bicycle; which would have cut the journey down to a mere six or seven hours…and that would be if he kept a constant speed of 20 miles per hour.  Chances are, Paul was riding either on the back of a donkey, or some other beast of burden, OR, he was walking.  It would take Paul almost a week to get from Jerusalem to Damascus and he felt so strongly about setting these heretic Christians right and putting an end to this sect, that he set out determinedly to cover the distance. 

Our Damascus Road
What was the road that God had you travel so that you could come face to face with him?  My ‘Road to Damascus’ first brought me to know Jesus as Savior when I was 8 or 9 years old.  However, it has taken many more miles…and many more years…for me to begin learning to accept the Lordship of Christ in my life.  I think I might cite several events through the course of my life hat I could call Damascus road events where I was headed off in my own direction doing what I thought was the ‘will of God’ requiring Jesus to set me straight again.

I find it interesting that following his conversion, many of the people marveled that Paul/Saul was the same man who only days before was looking to have them killed.  NOW he was preaching and showing people the way to eternal life.  We experience that too, don’t we?  We have people who knew us before Damascus Road.  They knew us “back when.” It is here that we find our testimony.  ‘Yes, that is who I used to be, but praise be to God, I met Jesus on the road to Damascus, and I’m not that man anymore.’

Prayer: “Great God, thank you so much for leading me to that place where I could receive your gift of salvation.  And thank you for your patience in helping me to grow up in the faith.  Keep me on your road, oh Lord, and use me as an instrument of your grace to help others as they journey toward Damascus.”

Scripture to claim:  
“But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.” Acts 9:22

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