The last time we saw Saul was in the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7:58.

Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.

At the beginning of Acts 9 we find him still on this murderous rampage. Meanwhile, Jesus has other plans for Saul.

There are a few things that important to notice about Jesus’ confrontation with Saul. First, notice that Jesus says “Why are you persecuting me?” He could have said, “Why are you persecuting the church,” or, “Why are you persecuting my disciples?” What we have to realize is that Jesus identifies with the church and the church is the body of Christ. Saul’s mission to destroy the church was a direct attack on Jesus, Himself.

Second, God chooses whomever He pleases to accomplish His purposes. I mean, would you have chosen a persecutor of the church to be the one to plant most of the churches in the first century? But Jesus chose Saul to “carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and children of Israel.”

Third, Saul immediately begins to proclaim the Gospel. His first proclamation is quite simple. “He is the Son of God.” This should be the response of everyone who comes to trust in Jesus. We each should go quickly about the work of making the name of our Savior known.

Saul Becomes Paul

By the next time we see Saul his name will have changed to Paul. Paul is the author of the majority of the books of the New Testament. He becomes a passionate proclaimer of the Gospel with a deep pastoral heart for the people in the congregations that he planted. Surely a major reason for Paul’s passion to proclaim the grace of God comes from the fact that he was so thankful for the grace that he, himself, received.