“Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?‘ And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’” (Acts 9:3-5)

Saul was a man who was quite enthusiastic and zealous for the Lord, though his initial efforts were totally misguided. As he was engaged in violently persecuting the followers of  Jesus, thinking that he was doing God’s work, he was totally blown away on the road to Damascus. As he lay there fallen, he asked the question that the disciples had not asked in John 21 “Who are you Lord?” He received an awesome answer, one which must have filled him with intense numbing guilt and fear: Jesus, the one Saul had been fighting against had knocked him down from the pinnacle of his religious pride. 

Saul, like so many others who would come after him, had unexpectedly reached the bottom, the lowest point of his life. He realized that all that he had done in his life up to that point had been worthless because, though he thought he had been serving God, he was really serving Satan. He must have felt totally disheartened and terrified for now he was blind and helpless at the mercy of Almighty God whom he had offended.

Yet the Lord showed mercy and kindness to Saul. He used obedient Ananias to reach out to him. Ananias told him the answer to his questions and Saul believed. The Lord then healed him, forgave his sins, and empowered him to preach the gospel with great boldness.

Many in our world zealously persecute the followers of Jesus these days, unaware that they cannot succeed for they are fighting against the Lord God Himself. The ones who are blessed, however, cry out to the Lord after they have descended into their lowest condition by their own corruption and evil. They have to come to a point where they detest and loathe their lives and fall into despair. As they cry out and ask with faith and fear “Who are you Lord?” we Christians will be there with a welcoming answer. We give  such despairing folks, even those who are the vilest of sinners, the gospel of grace and hope in Jesus.