Let’s read Acts 9:1-8, “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.”

This is the incredible event of the salvation of Saul of Tarsus.  Earlier, he had stood and directed the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr in the church age.  (Read Acts 7:54-8:1).  He would later say of Himself in Galatians 1:13-14, “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”

In Acts 9, Saul was on the way to a city named Damascus to find and punish Christians.  Even as he continued in his journey to ‘waste’ the church of God, he was struck down by a bright light. In Acts 26:13, he described this light as “above the brightness of the sun.”  After falling to the earth, Saul heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?”  We learn a precious truth from these words of the Lord…when we are persecuted, the Lord identifies with us in that persecution.  He considers that persecution to be His own. 

Notice the Lord said to Saul, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”  To command a beast to do a particular act, or go in a particular direction, the owner would prick (goad) the animal.  Sometimes, in frustration, the animal would kick against the prick, which would only make matters worse.  Something was pricking Saul’s conscience and he was kicking, or rebelling, against it.  It was the Holy Spirit that was pricking Saul’s conscience and he was fighting that conviction by striking out against the Lord by persecuting His church.  The Lord was telling Saul that he should stop kicking against these pricks and go in the direction he was being led.  This touched Saul’s conscience and he then acknowledged Christ as Lord.  He said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”  In that instance, Saul became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Although he formerly hated the Christians, he was now one of them. 

We read that Saul’s travelling companions heard a voice but could not understand what was being said.  This is because this message was singularly for Saul to hear.  It was the Lord calling to him to believe in Him and be saved.  In relating this event to king Agrippa, Saul would later say in Acts 26:19, “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.”  He obeyed the call to salvation and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior.  Of course, Saul later became known as Paul the Apostle.  (Read Acts 13:9)

Later, in great humility, Paul would refer to himself as the worst sinner of all.  He said in 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; OF WHOM I AM CHIEF.”  My friend, if the worst sinner in the world was saved, surely the Lord will save any who turn to Him in faith and own Him as savior and Lord.  (379.2)