“Now Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ” (Acts 9:1–4). A blinding explosion of intensely bright light stopped the Damascus-bound procession!
Years later, the Apostle Paul testified, “as I was traveling and approaching Damascus, about noon an intense light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, the one you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light, but they did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me” (Acts 22:6–10). “While on the road at midday, I saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun, shining around me and those traveling with me. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice speaking to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul’ ” (Acts 26:12–14). Light. Brighter than the sun!
Moses saw the “light” when “the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed” (Exodus 3:2–3). He experienced God’s illuminating presence again when “the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the … appearance of the Lord’s glory … was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop”(Exodus 24:16–17).
The “light” on the road to Damascus was none other than “appearance of the Lord’s glory.”
Remember what happened on the first day of creation? “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). And what did the Almighty accomplish on the fourth day? He hung the sun, the moon, and the stars in space (Genesis 1:14-19), So, that begs the question: If it wasn’t the sun, what was the source of light on the first day? I suggest that God lit the world with His glorious presence just as He will in Paradise, where “people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light” (Revelation 22:5). Heaven “does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23).
Who did Saul encounter on the road to Damascus? Who was the Light? Jesus!
Jesus declared, “I am the light” (John 9:5). “All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it… The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (John 1:3–9).
That light will never be extinguished or grow dim, but “the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Languishing in the darkness of Roman imprisonment and pondering the life-changing light of the glorious grace of God, the old Apostle admonished the church; “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”(Ephesians 5:8).