Paul had missed the mark on everything
At once, he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoner to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 9:20-22).
Have you ever had an experience where you thought you were right about something only to find out you were all wrong? That was Paul on his Damascus Road journey. He had just witnessed the stoning of Stephen. He watched and condoned the act of those throwing the stones.
He left that scene “breathing out murderous threats” against the Lord’s disciples. This new “Way” had to be stopped and stopped fast. He left Damascus with full authority to round up every Christian and take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. And then he met Jesus!
It became painfully clear. He had been all wrong about Jesus. He had missed the mark on everything. He knew the Old Testament scriptures, but he missed the Author. He embraced the law but was totally at odds with its intended purpose. He was a staunch apologist for the Jewish way of life and a leader of the leaders, yet he was blind to the real blessing of being a descendant of Abraham.
But on that Damascus road, everything changed. Paul experienced a 180. That’s we call repentance. Seeing Jesus that day centered Paul’s mind on the true plan of God. And he let go of all that he once deemed so important. The change was radical. So radical, that days later, Paul, newly born of the Spirit, marched into the synagogue in Damascus and began to preach that Jesus is the Son of God.
The blasphemer had become a proclaimer, the persecutor had become a shepherd of the sheep, the enemy had become a friend, and the sinner had become a saint. That is the power of the Gospel.
Yes, Paul had it all wrong about the plan of God. But we all did, until we met Jesus and learned that the good news that saves is “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scrip-tures” (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).
It is the power of the Gospel that turns our hearts away from all those things we deemed so important and centers us on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Have you experienced a 180 in your life? Have you trusted Jesus to change you from sinner to saint, to make you right in God’s sight and give you forgiveness and eternal life. If not will you trust Jesus to-day? If that’s your desire, simply pray something like this: “Lord Jesus, I need you. I thank you for dying on the cross so that I could receive forgiveness and new life. I confess with my mouth that you are Lord, and fully believe in my heart that God raised you from the dead. Today, I receive you as my life as my Lord and Savior.” If you prayed that prayer in faith, you have experienced the 180 – you have moved from death to life.