Acts 9:1-9 A Turning Point.
At this stage the people of God were still connected with the synagogues, being understood as adherents of “the Way”. It was Jesus who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn. 14:6a). These were all categorical terms, as was His claim to exclusivity, for He went on to add that, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6b). This will always arose opposition. People have always entertained opinions, it is exclusive claims to truth, such as the only way to God and life, which many do not like. It was the connection that many still had to the synagogue which led Saul to requests letters of excommunication, so to speak, that he might round them up and place them on ecclesiastical trial.
However, on his way to Damascus he is confronted by a great light which blinds him. We soon learn that this light was the light of the Glory-Presence surrounding the heavenly throne. Saul fell to the ground and the voice he heard was that of the Lord Jesus asking him why he was persecuting Him, because to persecute His followers was to persecute Him (v. 4-5a). When Jesus informs him who it was who was speaking to him, he also diagnosed a problem he had. To “kick against the goads” comes from the example of an ox kicking against it’s master’s prodding (v. 5b). Sometimes they would kick against it but this would only make the prick worse. No doubt Saul had heard the message of the Way and yet he continued his persecution.
Luke said that Saul was “trembling and astonished” (v. 6a). It seems that he understood the uniqueness of what was occurring, that the Lord’s words were words coming from the heavenly throne. His was a simple, straight forward question: “Lord, what do you want me to do” (v. 6b)? It took being blinded by the Glory-Presence and the word of the Lord spoken in this Presence, to bring him to his knees. Clearly the one who blinded Saul could have returned his sight, but instead the Lord forces him to meet someone he had intended to harm to get the help he needed (v. 6, vv. 8-9 Cf. vv. 10ff.). Those who accompanied him saw a great light, but they also saw no one and only heard Saul speaking (v. 7 Cf. 22:9; 26:13).