Paul, the Apostle—from a distance, he may come across as a self-made man who doesn’t bend before anyone or anything. But that’s really far from the truth. Paul was a broken, humble man who learned to live a life of submission before both God and man. And this was the key to God committing Himself to Paul.
Before he was the Apostle, he was Saul of Tarsus—a Pharisee, and as for legalistic righteousness, he was faultless. He was of the highest caste in society with both financial backing and a great education. Self-righteous, he was convinced that he was doing the right thing by killing Christians and opposing this Christ everyone was talking about.
But then on the road to Damascus, he met Jesus Christ Himself. There he was struck down with a bright light, and he heard those words, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? . . . It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
Saul immediately asked, “Who are You, Lord?” By calling Him Lord, Saul was saying in the literal sense of the word that he now belonged to the One he was addressing.
“I am Jesus,” was the response he heard.
Saul was dumbfounded. “Lord, what do You want me to do?” he stammered. His question was the beginning of a life of absolute surrender.
God instructed Saul to go to the city of Damascus. There, He said, “you will be told what you must do.” Think about this for a second. All Saul knows to do is to go to Damascus. God didn’t tell him where to go in the city or how long he would have to wait or even how he was to know the next step.
Then when Saul gets up, he opens his eyes and can’t see a thing. He is absolutely blind. Now the mighty, intelligent, rich and famous “Saul of Tarsus” has to be led by the hand like a child. In order for him to submit to his new Lord, he has to humble himself and take this road of brokenness. For three days, he waits sightless and helpless. God was using these first steps in submission to train Saul in godliness.
Next the Lord made contact with Ananias, a disciple living in Damascus. He gave him Saul’s address and told him to make a house call. The Lord adds, “He is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15–16).
The Lord could have done everything for Saul Himself. He could have opened his eyes, baptized him and filled him with the Holy Spirit. Instead, God chose to work through His delegated authority. It was Ananias who was divinely appointed to bring Saul healing and to guide him at this point in his journey. God was saying to Saul, “Submit yourself under My delegated authority.” Saul, who was such an intelligent, capable individual, had to put his life in the hands of Ananias, a simple unknown man mentioned only once in the Bible. Even so, Saul submitted to what was required of him, because he had met his ultimate Authority on the road to Damascus.