Did you know that the great Apostle Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, was at first travelling down the wrong road? He was convinced that he was doing God`s will when he was persecuting the people of The Way (True followers of Jesus at that time were called people of “The Way”).
Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
He was very sincere in what he thought was having faith in God, the problem was, in persecuting Christ's followers he was persecuting God Himself. Paul`s life is a very good illustration of how we can think we are following Jesus and be totally sincere in our endeavours to live for Him, but we can be totally wrong.
Sometimes God breaks into a life in a spectacular manner, and sometimes conversion is a quiet experience.
Never fear though, as God knew his heart and in the fullness of time, He got his attention. He had a dramatic conversion - read of it all in Acts 9:1-22.
As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
Simply put – “to kick against the goads” implies someone is resisting and in the process is hitting a sharp object. Ouch! A goad was typically a sharp stick or prod used to drive cattle. In the ancient Greek and Roman times, the phrase was a well-known expression indicating that someone was opposing a deity. If we put it all together, we discover that God told Paul that he was only hurting himself in his effort to eliminate Christians. He was unknowingly opposing God.
(Resource: Application Study Bible)
So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.
Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Paul saw Jesus Himself, not a vision. See 1 Corinthians 9:1 and 1 Corinthians 15:8.
He thought he was persecuting heretics, but he was persecuting Jesus Himself.
Anyone who persecutes Christians today is guilty of persecuting Jesus! See Matthew 25:40
Paul speaks of his life before he met the real Jesus of the Bible.
For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
It is imperative that we know that the Jesus whom we serve and follow is the same Jesus that Paul encountered, the Jesus of the Bible: God`s holy Word. Don`t just blindly follow what you may think is right, examine your heart and see if you are in line with God's Word. We can be so easily fooled into thinking we are alright.
Eternity is at stake, be certain which Jesus you are following!