There are many roads to travel in life. Saul would learn a lot on the road to Damascus. The story of his encounter is told three times in the book of Acts (9, 22, 26). What can we learn from the road to Damascus?
“Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” was traveling to Damascus, most likely from Jerusalem (9:1-3). It was on that road that a light appeared, and a message was given to him. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do” (Acts 9:4-6). Blind Saul is led by the hand to Damascus. For three days, he eats and drinks nothing. Ananias is sent to him to baptize him. Saul is now obedient to the messenger.
On the road, Saul learned who Jesus of Nazareth really was, the Christ. It was in Damascus that he was obedient to Him. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” (John 14:21). One who was murderous towards Christians was now showing love and respect to the Master. This kind of obedience is seen in a heart that truly wants to do what was right. For Saul, it was not about the pleasure of persecution. “Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, ‘Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day’” (Acts 23:1). Though he was following his conscience in persecuting the church, he was still wrong until he was obedient the way Christ wanted him to be.
We are not allowed to do whatever our conscience/inner voice “tells us.” Paul wrote, “to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess. 1:7-8). Christ is an example in this as well. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:8-9). We must be obedient to Christ according to the correct doctrine. “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed” (Rom. 6:17).
You might be on the road to Damascus, the road of obedience. You may already have a grasp of what obedience is, but we must all grasp its importance in a life of faith.