Summary: Paul made some important discoveries that day on the road to Damascus about the inescapable One whom he was kicking against.
"It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks"
Jesus seems to be saying that fighting against him
and his Gospel results in self-injury
In a cathedral in New York is a gallery that is
surrounded by a series of panels. Each panel represents a
Christian century and bears the name of the person who,
from the view of Christianity most profoundly influenced the
life and thought of their century. Concerning some of the
names that appear in these panels of honor there was much
difference of opinion; but when it came to the choice of a
name for the first panel of NT Christianity there was
complete agreement among those who were consulted.
Who was this man? Was He among those who were
first to receive Christ as Saviour? No! In fact He was once
violently opposed to Christ and bitterly opposed to the
Christian movement. He once made it his business to
persecute Christians and waste the church of God, but all
this was before His Damascus road experience. The part
which Saul played in the horrid work of persecution of the
early church is often underrated. However, if one would
study the verses that deal with Paul’s persecution of the
church, I am convinced that one would be astounded and
shocked at Paul’s cruelty. In his persecution of the Church,
Paul acted just as brutal as the Nazis, Communists, and
other vile people and nations in their barbaric treatment of
It is no wonder the saints were hesitant to receive
Paul into their midst after His conversion.
This morning I want us to look at one part of Paul’s
conversion that is probably too often overlooked. It is found
in the words, "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."
In these words we have a suggestion of the conflict that had
been raging for some time in the soul of this persecuting
Kicking against the pricks was a good way to describe
Paul’s problem. This figure of speech came from a practice
in eastern countries where farmers get oxen to do what they
are bidden. A prick was a nail anchored in the end of a stick
used to goad reluctant oxen along as they plowed. Deviation
to the left or right would result in some pain. Sometimes the
animal would kick at his master, and wound up kicking the
prick and injuring itself. Even a very stubborn ox would soon
get tired of this and settle down to work.
Jesus seems to be saying that fighting against Him
and his Gospel results in self-injury.
In our text it is as though Jesus was saying to this
proud Jew, "You are trying the impossible. You have been
trying to escape me, but you can’t. I am the answer to your
problem. I am the inescapable one. Paul, you are going to
have to deal with me."
Paul made some important discoveries that day on
the road to Damascus about the inescapable One whom he
was kicking against.
I. Paul discovered that if he ever wanted to
REALIZE righteousness before God, Jesus
was the only answer.
Paul had religion. He was saturated with religion. He
was a Pharisee who went to the temple to pray, fasted
twice a day, gives tithes of all that He possessed. He kept
the law and traditions perfectly as far as men were
concerned. "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of
Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews;
as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal,
persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is
in the law, blameless."
How could a sincere man like Saul of Tarsus be so
wrong? The answer is simply that he was using the wrong
measuring stick. Saul of Tarsus was looking at the outside
and not the inside. He was comparing himself with
standards set by men, not by God. As far as obeying
outwardly, Paul was a success, but he was did not stop to
consider the inward sins of the heart he was committing.
There are sinful attitudes and appetites as well as
sinful actions. When he looked at himself or looked at
others, Saul of Tarsus considered himself to be righteous.
But on the road to Damascus, he saw himself as compared
with Jesus Christ. It was then and there that Paul changed
his evaluations and values, and abandoned works
righteousness for the righteousness that comes by Jesus.
Paul discovered that day on the road to Damascus
that if a man was going to be right with God, Jesus was a
See Acts 13:38,39.
The greatest day in Paul’s life was when got over his
religion! Salvation is not religion; it is JESUS CHRIST.
See 2 Corinthians 5:21.
II. Paul discovered that if he ever wanted to