Because the Jews were determined that Jesus’ own words would not take place, “chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir…order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first”” (Matthew 27:63-64). I am certain that Saul knew about this order, and perhaps believed the resurrection was a lie.
The next seven years of training as a devoted Pharisee must have sealed the death of Jesus in Saul’s mind so there was no possible way for him to think that Jesus was alive. All the rumors about His resurrection had to be false. When the moment came “as he approached Damascus…suddenly a light from heaven shone around him” (Acts 9:3). This was no ordinary experience. Plus, the light was from a source outside any human experience. Saul was forced by the power of this experience to pay attention to what was happening.
Then “he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (9:4). With all his ‘higher education,’ he had never been taught how to handle a moment like this. He realized that what was taking place had an authority that could only come from the Lord. We do not know whether Saul was there in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified, and recognized His voice, but there was something in the voice that spoke to him that commanded complete submission.
The man that was put to death in Jerusalem was very much alive! In the same way that Saul was required to respond to Jesus on that day, you and I must respond to His challenging voice today. What is the LORD exposing to your heart right now that demands your submission.
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