As [Saul] neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
A Divine Confrontation
What would it take to turn Saul, the persecutor of Christians, into a Christian? Would it take a convincing debate with a prominent Christian teacher? Would Saul have to put in a lot of work researching Christianity so that he on his own could conclude that Christianity was true? I dare say that neither of those approaches would have worked in Saul’s case. He was absolutely convinced that what he believed was the truth and that Christianity was wrong. No amount of debate or research on its own could have changed Saul from a persecutor of Christians into a Christian.
The only thing that could turn Saul into a Christian was a divine confrontation. When Saul got close to Damascus, Jesus himself appeared to Saul in a flash of light and spoke to him. He confronted Saul with the reality that he truly was the Son of God. He confronted Saul with the reality of Saul’s rebellion against him. He confronted Saul with the reality of his resurrection from the dead. And in this divine confrontation, the Holy Spirit worked in Saul’s heart and brought him to faith in Jesus. Nothing short of such a divine confrontation—and nothing else besides—could have made Saul a Christian.
All who have been brought to faith in Jesus have experienced a similar, if less outwardly dramatic, divine confrontation. Through his Word in the Bible, through the water and Word of Baptism, Jesus confronted us with himself. He confronted us with the reality of who he is as the Son of God. He confronted us with his life, his death, and his resurrection, through which he rescued us from all our sins. In this divine confrontation, God the Holy Spirit worked in our hearts and brought us to faith in Jesus. Nothing short of such a divine confrontation—and nothing else besides—could have caused us to believe in Jesus as our Savior.
Lord Jesus, I praise you for confronting me with yourself and all that you have done for me. Amen.