The Voice That Spoke to Saul
Saul on the road to Damascus
Acts ix: 1 to 31;
xxii: 1 to 21;
Galatians i: 11 to 24.
the young man who had taken part in the slaying of
Stephen, and who had scattered abroad the believers
in Christ, was still the bitter enemy of the gospel.
He heard that some of those who had fled away from
Jerusalem had gone to Damascus, a city outside of
the Jewish land, far in the north, and that there
they were still at work teaching Christ. Saul made
up his mind to destroy this new church in Damascus,
as he thought he had destroyed the church in
Jerusalem. So he went to the high-priest, and said:
"Let me have a letter to the chief of the Jews in
Damascus. I have heard that there are some followers
of Jesus of Nazareth in that city; and I will go
with some men, and will take these people, and bind
them, and bring them in chains to Jerusalem."
The high-priest gave to Saul the letters that he
asked for, and Saul found a band of men to go with
him to Damascus. It was a journey of about ten days,
riding on horses or mules. While Saul was on his way
to Damascus he had time to think about Christ and
his gospel. He saw again in his mind Stephenís
shining face, and heard his words, he thought of the
sweet and patient way in which the followers of
Jesus had met their sufferings and their wrongs at
his hand. Deep in Saulís heart there arose a feeling
which he could not put down, that the gospel of
Christ was true, and that it was wicked for him to
fight against it. Yet he still went on, firm in his
purpose to destroy the Church of Christ.
At last he came near to Damascus. Suddenly, at full
noon, a light flashed from heaven, brighter far than
the sun. For the time the light blinded Saulís eyes,
and it came so suddenly upon him that like a bolt of
lightning it struck him down, and he fell upon the
ground. In the midst of the light Saul saw One whom
he had never seen before. And a strange voice came
to him saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you fighting
And Saul answered the voice, "Who art thou, Lord?"
Then the answer came, "I am Jesus, whom you are
trying to destroy!"
trembling with surprise and alarm, Saul said, "Lord,
what wilt thou have me to do?"
And the Lord said to Saul, "Rise up, and go into the
city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do."
Those who were with Saul wondered, for they had seen
a light, and had heard a sound; but had beheld no
face and had heard no words; for the vision of
Christ had come to Saul alone. They raised him up
from the ground, and found that his eyes had been
made blind by the brightness of the light. They led
him by the hand into the city, and took him to the
house of a man named Judas. There Saul stayed for
three days in the deepest suffering of mind and
body. He could see nothing, and he neither ate nor
drank. But in the darkness he was praying to God and
to Christ with all his heart.
In the city of Damascus there was a follower of
Christ named Ananias, a good man, held in respect by
all who knew him. To this Ananias the Lord spoke,
calling him by name, "Ananias."
And Ananias answered, "Here I am, O Lord."
And the Lord said to Ananias, "Rise, and go into the
street named Straight, and find the house of Judas;
and in that house ask for a man named Saul from
Tarsus. This man Saul is praying; and in a vision he
has seen a man named Ananias coming into his room
and laying his hands on him, to give him his sight."
This command from the Lord was a surprise to
Ananias. He answered the Lord, "Lord, I have heard
from many people about this man Saul; what great
evil he has done to all thy people in Jerusalem; and
here he has an order from the high-priest to bind
and to carry away all who call upon thy name! Shall
I go and visit such a man as he?"
But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go thy way; for I
have chosen this man to bear my name before the
people of all nations, and kings and the children of
Israel. And I will show him how many things he must
suffer for my sake."
Then Ananias went, as the Lord had bidden him. He
found the house, and he came to Saul. He laid his
hands on the head of Saul, and he said, "Brother
Saul, the Lord Jesus, who met you in the way as you
were coming, has sent me, that you may have your
sight, and that the Holy Spirit may come upon you.
Now, wait no longer, but rise up , and be baptized,
and call upon the name of Jesus, who will wash away
Then there fell from the eyes of Saul what seemed
like scales, and at once his sight came to him. Saul
was baptized as one who believed in Christ, and food
was given him, and he became strong in body and in
soul. Saul had gone forth to bind the disciples of
Christ in Damascus; but now he came among them, no
more as an enemy, but as a brother. And he went into
the synagogues where the Jews worshipped in
Damascus, and began to preach Jesus to them,
declaring that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of
God. And all that heard him were amazed, and they
said to each other, "Is not this the same man who in
Jerusalem wrought ruin among them who believed in
this name? And did he not come to this place,
intending to bind the believers in Jesus, and bring
them before the chief priests?"
And Saul grew stronger and stronger in his spirit
and in his words. None of the Jews in Damascus could
answer him, as he showed that Jesus is the Anointed
One, the Christ. But he did not stay long in
Damascus. After a time he left the city, and went
away to a quiet place in the desert of Arabia, where
he stayed for a year or longer, thinking upon the
gospel and learning from the Lord.
And again Saul came to Damascus and again he
preached Christ and salvation through his name, not
only for Jews, but for Gentiles, all people besides
the Jews. This made the Jews in Damascus very angry.
They formed a plan to kill Saul, and they watched
the gates day and night, hoping to seize him as he
went out. But Saulís friends, the disciples of
Jesus, brought him by night to a house on the wall,
and let him down in a basket to the ground, so that
he escaped from his enemies and went away in safety.
Saul now journeyed back to Jerusalem. He had left it
three years before, a bitter enemy of Christ; he
came to it again a follower of Christ. But when Saul
sought to join the believers in Jerusalem, they were
all afraid of him; for they could not believe that
one whom they had known as the fierce destroyer of
the church was now a friend to Jesus. Then Barnabas,
the man who had given all his land to the church
believed in Saul when he heard his story, and
brought him to Peter, and told how he had seen the
Lord in the way, and how boldly he had preached in
Damascus in the name of Jesus.
Then Peter took the hand of Saul, and received him
as a disciple of Christ. For a few weeks Saul stayed
in Jerusalem; and he preached in the synagogues of
the Jews, as Stephen had preached before, that Jesus
is the Saviour not only of Jews but also of Gentiles
("Gentiles" was the name that Jews gave to people of
every other nation except their own).
When Saul preached that Gentiles might be saved in
Jesus Christ, it made the Jews angry, just as it had
made Saul himself angry in other days to hear
Stephen preach this same gospel. They would not
listen to Saul, and they sought to kill him, as they
had killed Stephen. One day Saul was praying in the
Temple and the Lord came to him once again, and Saul
saw Jesus and heard his voice saying, "Make haste,
and go quickly out of Jerusalem, for the people here
will not believe your words about me."
Then Saul said to the Lord, "Lord, they know that I
put into prison and beat in the synagogues those who
believed on thee. And when thy servant Stephen was
slain I was standing by and was keeping the garments
of those who stoned him."
And the Lord said to Saul, "Go from this place; for
I will send thee far away to preach to the
Then Saul knew that his work was not to preach the
gospel to the Jews, but to the Gentiles, the people
of other nations. The disciples in Jerusalem helped
him to get away from his enemies in the city, and
led him down to a place called Caesarea, on the
seashore. There Saul found a ship sailing to Tarsus,
a city in Asia Minor. Tarsus was Saulís birthplace
and his early home. He went again to this place, and
in that city he stayed for a few years, safe from
the Jews. He was a tent-maker, and he worked at his
trade while preaching the gospel in Tarsus. And we
may be sure that Saul would not be silent about the
good news of the gospel. He preached in Tarsus and
in all the places near it.
Now that Saul the enemy had become Saul the friend
of the gospel, all the churches in Judea, and
Samaria, and Galilee, had rest and peace. The
followers of Christ could preach without fear; and
the number of those who believed grew rapidly, for
the Lord was with them.
All through the land, from Galilee down to the
desert on the south, there were meetings of those
who believed in Jesus as the Saviour, and the
apostles Peter and John went among them to teach
them the way of life.
Saul on the road to Damascus