Jesus and Saul at the Gates of Damascus
Thus occurs a meeting, unexpected as a thunderbolt, at the gates of Damascus: a light from heaven inundates Saul and he falls prostrate to the ground. Thus begins the first conversation between two lovers. Saul hears an unknown voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” to which Saul replies, “Who art thou, Lord?” The voice replies (its sound can be heard though nothing is seen), “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” (Acts 9:4, 5) This is the first “thou and I” between Jesus and Saul. How often will such conversations be renewed between them!
We all know the details of this marvellous story: Saul is led by his companions into Damascus. A meeting takes place with Ananias in the home of one of the first Christians in one of the quarters surrounding the Via Recta of Damascus. The Apostle Ananias, first Bishop of Damascus, baptizes Saul in the river Barada and so Saul is transformed from a hateful figure to a “chosen vessel, who will bear (the) name (of Jesus Christ) before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel… and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 9:15, 17)