“I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison.., but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
“In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me..,‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?..’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you… I am sending you [to the Gentiles] to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared… in Damascus, Jerusalem and all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” Acts 26:9-14a,15-16,17b-20
Paul’s story is dramatic, a colorful scene in a spiritual thriller. An enemy of Christ, alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, Paul was drastically changed and reconciled to Jesus. God intervened to deliver him from the domain of darkness by opening his eyes and transferring him to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom all who believe have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Opened eyes lead to a flurry of life transformation: darkness to light, power of Satan to God, condemnation to forgiveness, separation and desolation to belonging. Opened eyes recognize what the Lord has done, and look for what He will do. (Acts 9:1-9,17-19; Romans 5:10; Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 1:13-14,21-22)
Indeed, his saving was spectacular, but Paul’s call to mission was not unlike that to all believers. All whose spiritual eyes have been opened, like Paul have seen Him, and are servants and witnesses to His power and work. Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, we are charged to bring the light of truth to others. Our place and opportunities and methods to ‘make disciples’ will differ, but we are all instruments in God’s skilled hands to open eyes. (Isaiah 42:6-7; 49:1-3,5-6; Matthew 28:19-20)
What are we doing to watch keenly for God, so we actively add to our storehouse of His deeds? What of His faithfulness, His grace and mercy, His holiness, His love, has He showed us personally? Are we daily looking into His word to see His ways, and His glory? (Exodus 33:13-19; Psalm 119:18)
And what is He revealing to us about the needs of others, our nation, our world? How might He use us to open eyes?
Lord, help me see You, and others through You. Use me to open eyes so more can behold Your worth.