Summary: Each and every one of us have a purpose. God desires for each of us to know Him though His Son. But beyond salvation, He has a plan for each of us. Eventually, we must ask the question Saul of Tarsus asked: "Lord, what do You want ME to do?"
Key Verse: 6a
Q: “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
What a question! What a novel idea! Asking the Creator what He desires of His creation.
You might say that Saul was a “religious man.” Actually he was a very religious man! He knew how to pray. He had devoted himself to the Old Testament Scriptures. He went to the synagogue religiously.
Saul was a “Pharisee of the Pharisees,” having had the privilege to have learned at the feet of Gamaliel – one who would have held a Ph.D. in the Law and Prophets.
Statement: Saul had lived the Law. He loved the Law. He had done everything according to the Law. He knew the books of History, the Law and Prophets. He knew his religion! He was in the process of serving warrants pm those who were “of the Way.”
TURN TO ACTS 8… We first meet Saul in the 7th and 8th chapters of the book of Acts at the stoning of Stephen – the first man to die as a Christian. Verse 1 of chapter 8 states that Saul was “consenting unto his death.” The word consenting means “to be gratified by, or to take pleasure in.”
See verse 3…
Saul thought he was doing everything that was required. Everything that was righteous. Everything that was religious.
But he was actually at enmity with God. He was not working for/with God. Rather, he was working against Him.
Sometimes, we are in the same condition. We believe that we are doing everything required, righteous, religious.
But, we lack the one ingredient of a God-honoring life – a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Thought: that is exactly what Jesus required of the rich young ruler.
In our passage, Saul asked two important questions:
1. “Who art thou Lord?” How did Jesus respond? See 9:5 – I am JESUS, whom thou persecutes; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks; or "to resist me", as the Arabic version renders it; and which is the sense of the phrase; it is a proverbial expression, taken from beasts that are goaded, who kick against the goads or pricks, and hurt themselves the more thereby; and Christ uses it, suggesting that should Saul go on to persecute him and his people, to oppose his Gospel, and the strong evidence of it, in doctrine and miracles, he would find himself greatly hurt by it, and could not rationally expect to succeed against so powerful a person.
2. Secondly, he asked “What wilt thou have me to do?” Can you imagine being in a face-to-face confrontation with one whom you have offended and maligned? It would be bad enough to be standing toe-to-toe with a mere human, but Saul was facing Immanuel – God in the flesh. The God-man who had raised the dead, exercised the demons, healed the blind, the dumb, the crippled. Jesus, who held all the power of heaven and earth in His hands. This same Jesus who had struck Saul blind, could have struck him dead. And Saul knew it. Notice Jesus’ response to Ananias’ question in verses 15 – 16. The Lord was calling Saul to be a missionary to the very people he had been persecuting – the Gentiles.
3. Saul (Hebrew name) – Paul (Gentile name). Saul took on the Gentile equivalent of his circumcision name, so that he would better identify with those to whom he was called to minister.