The Apostle Paul: Paul Tells of His Conversion

12 “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (Acts 26:12–18 (ESV)

When Paul shared his personal testimony, before King Agrippa II, of his conversion to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, he revealed, by the Holy Spirit, several details not previously found in either Acts 9 or Acts 22. Why? Perhaps it was to show that the Apostle Paul’s conversion and calling to preach the Gospel was not unlike the conversions and calls to the Old Testament prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

Frist, Paul mentioned that all the people who with him that fateful day fell to the ground when Gods’ glory shone around all of them (Acts 26:13-14). However, no one else was blinded like Paul was when they saw the light and no one else heard the voice of the Lord Jesus as Paul did (Acts 26:15; 22:9).

Second, Paul mentioned that Jesus spoke in the Hebrew language. Why does Paul contribute this detail? It could be because Hebrew was the language of the Old Testament prophets and Paul sought to show the complimentary relationship between their message and the Gospel.

Thirdly, unlike the two previous accounts (Acts 9 & 22), Paul indicated that Jesus instructed him regarding his future ministry. However, in the other accounts the Lord used Ananias to communicate this information. Paul most likely is condensing the account and leaving out the details regarding Ananias.

Fourthly, the language Paul used here is reminiscent of the conversions and callings of three major Old Testament prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. God told Paul to stand on his feet much as He did Ezekiel (Acts 26:16; Ezekiel 1:1-19). The Lord told Paul that He was sending him to the Gentiles (Acts 26:17) as He told Jeremiah and Ezekiel that He was sending them (Jeremiah 1:1-7; Ezekiel 2:1-3).

Finally, the Lord told Paul that he would open eyes, turn people from darkness to light, and turn them from the power of Satan so that they would receive forgiveness for their sins and be sanctified by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This commission is reminiscent of Isaiah 6:8-13 and Isaiah 42:1-7.

Like Paul, all believers in Christ are His instruments for a noble purpose: to share the Gospel and to build people up in the faith. May all of us submit to the Lord’s sovereign leading by accomplishing the task He has chosen for each of us.

Soli deo Gloria!

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