Brighter Than The Sun
For a few minutes it unified a divided nation. Millions watched the blinding light of the sun slowly being extinguished by the darkness of the moon, but still that breathtaking corona remained at the edge. Then that blast of light when the sun once again overpowered the darkness with blinding light—a light so strong you needed a welder’s helmet to even take a peek.
I’ve heard the story of Paul’s Damascus road experience since I was a kid, but the eclipse made me think even more about the eerie power of darkness and the need for that intense light—a light so great that when we try to look, we instantly turn away. No wonder Paul was blinded by the radiating glory of the ascended Son of God --a light far more intense than one of the stars He created to give us the energy so that we could live.
The Apostle Paul went on in his defense before King Agrippa to share how he was blinded by the Light.
“Therefore I too thought I needed to do everything possible against the name of Jesus, the Nazarene. I did this in Jerusalem. Receiving authority from the chief priests, I locked up many of the saints in prison, casting my lot to do away with them, and often punishing them in many of the synagogues, pressing them to blaspheme. Madly enraged against them I persecuted them, going even to foreign cities.
On one of these journeys I was traveling to Damascus, commissioned by the chief priests with power and authority. On the way at midday I saw from the heaven, O king, a light far greater than the brilliance of the sun shining around me and those traveling with me. When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It’s hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ and the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet. For I’ve appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you a servant and witness to the things you have seen and the things I will reveal to you. I will deliver you out of the hands of the Jewish people and from the Gentiles—to whom I’m sending you to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, from the authority of Satan to God, so that they can receive forgiveness for sins and a place among those who are set apart by faith in me.’” Acts 26:9-18
The Greek verb “to persecute,” also means “to pursue.” Isn’t it ironic that Paul was pursuing followers of Jesus, the Nazarene, to arrest and murder them, but he had no clue that the Hound of Heaven was pursuing him. All that rage inside only indicated he was fighting against an opponent who always wins.
Watching the full eclipse on ABC because Texas, this time, didn’t get the totality, it was still awesome to see the crowds suddenly immersed in darkness in the middle of the day and then suddenly see the light of the sun burst out and flood us again with light. Paul spoke to King Agrippa about a far greater movement from darkness to light. Jesus can transfer us from Satan’s kingdom of darkness and sin to His world of forgiveness and light.
LORD, your heavens this week certainly did proclaim your glory. Bring even greater glory to yourself by opening the eyes of friends who are still blind in the darkness of their sin.
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