“‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. – Acts 22:10
Paul knew he will be arrested once he reaches Jerusalem. At the end of his third missionary journey, he was forewarned by many prophesies that he will be bounded if he goes back to Jerusalem. When he reached Jerusalem, people found him in the temple. When the uproar started the Roman commander decided to intervene and arrest Paul for a mistaken identity (Acts 21:38). Paul had to give his identity and asked for permission to speak.
Paul narrates his dramatic encounter with God in Aramaic, which is the common man’s language in those days. Paul is no ordinary man. Highly intelligent, the Roman citizen, studied under Gamaliel and a trained Pharisee. He was sure that Jesus was not a messiah and zealous to stop the spread of Christianity. He had the support of aristocrats to arrest and persecute the Christians in Damascus.
His travel to Damascus from Jerusalem is a long 300+ km ride. Noontime a hottest time in that region and considered not a good time to travel. Unexpectedly a bright light flashed on him and Paul fell to the ground. John the disciple of Jesus had the similar experience when he saw Christ in his glory. He fell at feet like a dead man (Revelation 1:17).
It was Jesus who reached out to Paul and it was Jesus who asked the first question – “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” (Acts 22:7). Paul trying to recover quickly realized he is under the supernatural influence. His trembling answer was a question not an answer to Jesus’s question – “Who are you, Lord”.
We are not sure whether Paul has met Jesus before, but he has lived his life in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus and might have heard enough about him. Jesus though was appearing in his glory with all the power his voice was tender as always. Jesus answered the question Paul asked in a most humble way and related himself to his human connection and the context he is dealing with.
‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting – Acts 22:8.
Let's remember, Jesus is dealing with the person who is responsible for killing Stephen (Acts 22:19,20) and has plan to arrest so many other Christians. The approach of Jesus is different and so gracious whether he is dealing with Paul or dealing with thieve hanging on the cross. Jesus knew exactly which areas Paul needs correction. It's just the zeal of Paul, which was placed on the righteousness by law to be converted to righteousness by faith.
Paul knew Jesus, he thought he was crucified and dead. Now he realized who he is and where he is. He has only one more question for the rest of his life, every day in his life or even every minute of his life. ‘What shall I do, Lord? – Acts 22:10. That’s the complete surrender. Surrender of his talents, knowledge, zeal, and will without any constraints or conditions. Jesus knew how to use a man who has surrendered everything. Paul went on to write thirteen Pauline epistles and died a martyr death. The churches he established and the passion with which he spread the gospel of Jesus Christ was not only evident in the scripture but came out clearly in the books of history as well.
As a Christian we many times try to trade things. God if you do this, I will do this. Lord if you give me this, I will give you this. Can we do what Paul did and ask the question to the Lord? Lord, what shall I do for you?