Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. Acts 9:1
This sounds like more than just religious zeal; it sounds personal. Saul obviously had it in for all Christians. Just putting them in prison wasn’t going to do it for him; he wanted to see them dead. This is the man who is about to become the Apostle to the Gentiles and one of the key leaders of the church.
Why do you suppose God picked someone He would have to turn around 180 degrees to make him into one of the founders of His church? Why would He do that unless He had a point He wanted to make? Could it be that He wanted a situation that required nothing short of a supernatural transformation to explain? This was not a person who was already headed in the right direction and God only needed to direct him and give him an extra boost. No, this was someone fully engaged in destroying the very thing God was creating. He was uttering threats against Christians “with every breath.” He was passionate about putting an end to this beginning.
I believe God wanted an impossibility; something that required His intervention. God wanted a total transformation, and the transformation was so complete, it even included a name change: Saul became Paul. God wanted there to be no doubt that this was the Holy Spirit’s doing. We read these accounts in Acts and we are not impressed with Peter, or John, or Stephen, or Phillip, or Paul; we are impressed with the Holy Spirit and what God was doing in the lives of ordinary people. Thus, the implication for all of us is obvious. We can do these things too. Anybody could if they have the Holy Spirit.
Remember the Acts of the Apostles is really the acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles. Apart from Him, they could do nothing except mess it up.
This is why it took a light that blinded him on the road to Damascus, a voice from God, a new Christian brother to come and pray for him to receive his sight back, and the love and the eventual acceptance of the Christians he set out to kill.
“Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:4-6)
Kind of hard to buck that.
Each one of us who believe is no less of a transformation. We were going the opposite direction before God turned us around. He got inside our head and gave us a new heart and a new mind. That’s why it’s glory to God and not glory to John, or Marti, or Cynthia, or Merv, or Terri, or June, or Gunnar. Simplify it. It’s just glory to God. It’s always glory to God.