Acts 22:3-16;Psalm 117:1-2; Mark 16:15-18
The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle
Why are you persecuting me? (Acts 22:7)
What happened to shake Paul to his core? We know it wasn’t chastisement or threats of punishment, even though Saul “was breathing murderous threats against the disciples” (Acts 9:1). It wasn’t an angry demand that he stop sinning or that he cut out the violence. It wasn’t a bolt of divine wrath that dashed him to the ground.
It was a question: “Why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, came to Saul, placed a mirror in front of him, and asked him a question filled with sadness, compassion, and understanding. Who are you, Saul? What are you becoming? He spoke not in anger but in kindness. He allowed Saul to see himself, in the light of his own divine glory. And the rest is history.
This is the heart of conversion: a moment—sometimes a brief moment, other times a quite lengthy one—in which Jesus shines his light on us. Conversion happens when the Holy Spirit prompts us to question our priorities, our desires, our very selves. It comes when God’s light shines more brightly, or anew, in our hearts, and we sense his presence more powerfully than before. And that presence unsettles us, even as it lifts us up.
But conversion isn’t just about us. It’s mainly about Jesus. Not only do we see ourselves in a new light, we also see the Lord—brilliant in his glory, blinding in his love, filled with mercy and redemption. Seeing who he is, we get a glimpse of who we can become. And that vision, that sense of hope for our future, is so compelling that we willingly turn away from sin and embrace the Lord.
Paul’s conversion was a dramatic turning point in his life. On that day, he decided to follow Jesus and not look back. This is the kind of conversion God wants all of us to have—this decision to break with our old lives and commit ourselves to Jesus. It may not happen as dramatically as it did for Paul. But we all face the question of whether we are going to turn to Jesus and stick with him through thick and thin. So who are you? Who do you want to become?
“Jesus, I turn my life over to you today.”~WAU