“As he 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.’ The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. Acts 9:3–9 (NIV84)
One of the things that overwhelms me the most about God is that He doesn’t sit in heaven and wait for us to come back to Him. He pursues us! Look throughout Scripture and see how often God is the one taking the initiative to restore someone back into a right relationship with Him. He pursued Abraham, Jacob, Moses, King David, and Jonah. Jesus pursued His disciples, Zaccheus, and you and me. He comes to seek and to save that which is lost. In our text for today, our Lord pursues the heart and soul of Saul (Paul). Saul had been for some time now creating havoc in the lives of Jewish Christians. He had participated in their arrests and even their deaths. He felt it was His duty to God to stop the growth of the new Jewish sect called “The Way.”
While Saul was on his way to destroy the lives of Christians in Damascus, the Lord blinded him with a bright light and called him by name, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” Right here we see the heart of our God. He is even willing to pursue His enemies. To the question, “Who are you?” Jesus answers, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Saul is blinded for 3 days and is faced with life-altering questions: Am I all wrong? When I thought I was being zealous for God, was I in fact His enemy? Is Jesus really the Messiah, and I have been fighting against Him?”
For 3 days Saul was left to think about whether his acts over the last several months were motivated by a spiritual blindness. Here he was claiming to know God and His purposes, and in reality he knew neither. Nonetheless, God pursued him. God claimed him and won his heart and soul to the kingdom of God. Paul became the greatest evangelist of that time. He shared the Gospel with anyone who was willing to listen. How thankful Paul must have been to know that God loved him so much that He was willing to pursue Him even when he was being rebellious.
The same is true for us! God has pursued you and me into a relationship with Him. He meets us wherever we are. Even through our rebellion He calls, reaches, touches, heals, redeems and saves us. God’s love for us is unconditional. He doesn’t wait for us to meet some kind of condition or requirement before He acts. No! He continuously seeks and saves even the lost and rebellious. He calls us by name and makes us His children. Through the power of the Holy Spirit He makes us born again. He kills the old sinful man in us on the cross of Jesus, and creates a new spiritual man in us.
May we find comfort and peace in having a God who loves us so much He is willing to pursue us!