Blinded by The Light
Up Close and Personal with the Apostle Paul Series
Hebrews 9:16 (KJB) For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
It thrills my heart to read these particular New Testament passages as is found in Hebrews 9:15-23, including a pinnacle verse which points to the substitutionary death of Christ and the necessity of His shed blood as was divinely recorded by the Apostle Paul.
First, we must consider why is a testator, as is mentioned above, so important?
You see, we as professing Christians, like to get excited about individual testimonies. Especially cherished is the spiritually dynamic statement regarding the life-changing events which happened to the Apostle Paul. This event is included in the book of Acts, touched on in the book of Luke, and this ancient account flows with the entire gospel message encompassed throughout the canon of scripture.
Many like to get excited about our own testimony, or that professed by others of what Christ has been doing in their life. Many hang onto even the exact day and moment, or their spiritual birthday, or “new birth” in Christ. It is the day which signifies the very moment that Jesus Christ did a work in their heart and life as they give testimony of it to others. Yes, a testimony is important and valuable to every Christian, but we must also consider no man’s testimony has any value outside of it pointing to The Testator, who is Jesus Christ.
You see, Paul naturally began life on earth humanly speaking, just like you and me. Born as a babe and divinely crafted by the hand of God in the womb and spiritually speaking mirrored the image of Adam being born with a naturally hardened sin-filled heart. The high point or life-saving truth about Paul in the middle of his journey from Jerusalem to Damascus was the spiritual necessity of him being blinded by The Light. The fact that Jesus Christ was involved and that any spiritually sincere testimony is always highlighted by the spiritual presence and work of Jesus Christ rather than a spotlight placed on any man. In this instance, the man was the Apostle named Paul.
This testimony did not evolve from any everyday moment. Nor was it because of any ordinary light from the sun as sunbeams were cast down to this earth. This day was hot, and yes, the noonday sun was beating down. However, this Light was not customary or ordinary by any means. This Light was supernatural, it originated from the depths of heaven. In fact, this Light is the very presence of Jesus Christ (John 1:4-5) the source of life which lasts forever. His light reveals “the way the Truth and the life…” as was recorded for our learning in (John 14:6).
Yes, Jesus Christ is present and was present with God since the beginning of time. He is found at work in this world since the beginning (John 1:1-3). We must look at the divinely revealed details of Paul’s journey, and in hearing every other individual’s testimony to this day, through the lens of the presence and power of Jesus Christ, for without Him there would be no testimony.
Paul traversed, likely on a familiar route, being one perhaps taken on a previous journey from Jerusalem to Damascus. However, we do not know the exact path he took, for there is more than one possible route. Some scholars will claim that Paul’s course was a particular route which became known as “The Roman Road” giving way to passages for giving the gospel message of Christ collectively known to us as “The Roman Road.” Again, though it sounds plausible for he was a Roman citizen by birth, we do know the exact journey Paul embarked on this day. The naming of the Roman Road could have been named years later and steeped in folklore and tradition rather than facts. However, we do know for sure that an unidentified road was undoubtedly an avenue that God used in Paul meeting personally with Jesus Christ.
Not only that, but aside from traditions, the Bible does not detail for us who his companions on this journey were either. We do know that Paul was not traveling alone for Paul was blinded by this extraordinary Light and need the assistance of his companions on that day and for days to come. His friends, traveling beside him, were not affected by the Light as was Paul. Though they were not able to hear or see that which divinely grabbed Paul’s attention, they clearly understood something “out of this world” suddenly happened. Something that brought both them and the Apostle Paul to awe, confusion, heart-wrenching fear amid a brightness they had never witnessed. His companions were not blinded by this Light, nor did they hear the dynamic voice of Jesus Christ as did Paul.
Because each testimony is an individual personal matter and Paul was affected personally.
Honestly, we can speculate all day about the scope and magnitude of these events, but really, we must always be responsible by being careful not to add extra fluff, or details not supported as was recorded in God’s Word. Certainly, we can agree that this was a supernatural event in the life of Paul involving Jesus Christ because the Bible tells us so. We can understand this event just by placing our faith in the power and presence of the Lord and in the authenticity of His Word.
In conclusion, a key point for each of us to remember in recounting this ancient event recorded for our learning in the life of Paul is in that we, you and I, indeed were also born enemies of Christ too. We were naturally born steeped in sin and aligned with the characteristics of the god of this world. Perhaps you are more of an unknown person or not an “infamous sinner” like Paul. He was well known for vehemently standing against the church, Christians, and ultimately Jesus Christ. Just like Paul, though it is necessary for every person, to be personally blinded by the Light of God.
It is true, like Paul, it is vital for our testimony to be grounded in the power and presence of Jesus Christ. That we have personally come to know God’s righteousness shining brightly through the revealed Light, who is His Son, Jesus Christ. It is the only way any man can genuinely become a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Obtaining a new spiritual heart is never about aligning up with a man, a preacher, or an emotional event. Secondly, it is eternally comforting to know that God always stands ready to forgive humbled hearts no matter the magnitude of sin. The Apostle Paul’s testimony stands as a great example of His infinite and unconditional mercy and grace available to every heart.
Each of us, like Paul, must have a personal testimony, rather than a general emotional experience, a vanilla attempt at reciting a prayer, or some sort of sensational event affecting only our senses. Every sincere testimony must point foremost to the presence and power of Jesus Christ, rather than looking at any goodness or work of self or that of any man in this world.
It is not all about a man named Paul! It is about Jesus Christ!
Frankly, many testimonies will not be of the magnitude and depth of the Apostle Paul’s either, however, in his case, much was also required of him. As (Luke 12:45-48) distinctly points to two kinds of servants in this parable with one being a slothful worker and the other servant being obedient and living a sold-out life (Galatians 2:21) for the work of God.
**In the next devotion in this series Up Close and Personal with the Apostle Paul, we will more closely examine Paul’s new heart and his new life in a third devotion titled A New Creature in Christ.
Please enjoy reading the first installment in this series From the Line of Benjamin