Faith in Jesus Christ will transform and ennoble any life.
It has been customary, of late years, among people who do not like miracles and do not believe in sudden changes of character, to allege that Paul’s conversion was but the appearance, on the surface, of an underground process that had been going on ever since he kept the witnesses’ clothes [at the murder of Stephen]. Modern critics know a great deal more about the history of Paul’s conversion than Paul did. For, to him, there was no consciousness of undermining, but the change was instantaneous. He left Jerusalem a bitter persecutor, exceedingly mad against the followers of the Nazarene, thinking that Jesus was a blasphemer and an impostor and His disciples pestilent vermin to be harried off the face of the earth. He entered Damascus a lowly disciple of that Christ. His conversion was not an underground process that had been silently sapping the foundations of his life. It was an explosion. And what caused it? What was it that came, on that day on the Damascus road, amid the blinding sunshine of an Eastern noontide? The vision of Jesus Christ. An overwhelming conviction flooded his soul that He whom he had taken to be an impostor, richly deserving the cross that He endured, was living in glory and was revealing Himself to Saul, then and there.
That truth crumbled his whole past into nothing, and he stood there, trembling and astonished, like a man the ruins of whose house have fallen about his ears. He bowed himself to the vision. He surrendered at discretion without a struggle. “Immediately,” says he, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,” and when he had said, “Lord, Lord, what will You have me to do?,” he flung open the gates of the fortress for the conqueror to come in.
The vision of Christ reversed his judgments, transformed his character, and revolutionized his life. – Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), from a meditation on Acts 7.58; Philemon 9.