"'Now it happened as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" So I answered, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said to me, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting." And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. So I said, "What shall I do, Lord?" And the Lord said to me, "Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do." And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus. Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, came to me, and he stood and said to me, "Brother Saul, receive your sight." And at that same hour I looked up at him. Then he said, "The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord"'" (Acts 22:6-16).
Since we have studied the conversion of Saul (Paul) in detail when we considered Acts 9, our comments here will be brief. The interested student is encouraged to review the three lessons from 11/30/10, 12/01/10, & 12/02/10 for a more thorough analysis. As a side note, the fact that Paul's conversion is recorded by Luke on three different occasions underscores the importance of it (cf. Acts 9, 22, & 26).
After establishing some points of common ground between them, Paul begins recounting the details that led up to his conversion. Why is he doing this? Why is he not denying the charge of bringing Greeks into the temple? He hopes to be able to explain to the unbelieving Jews why he now is a Christian, with the ultimate aim of winning them over to Christ! With a prison door behind him and a blood-thirsty mob before him, Paul is filled with compassion for these lost souls! He once was a persecutor of Christ (and understands their ignorant zeal against him), but, after speaking with Jesus Himself on the road to Damascus, his life was turned upside down (physically he was blinded, but spirituality he was beginning to see better than ever)! Paul was not saved on that road, but he began developing a proper, penitent faith in Jesus. After Paul fasted for three days, a Christian named Ananias came and restored his sight (by God's power) and then told him of some of the great things God had in store for him as a witness for Christ. However, first he had to finish his obedience to the gospel by submitting to baptism (i.e., immersion in water for the forgiveness of sins). Ananias urged him to get up and be baptized in order to be cleansed of sin. His belief in Christ and the repentance he had already manifested were necessary but not sufficient toward this end. When a penitent believer is baptized into Christ, he is intrinsically "calling on the name of the Lord." How so? When one obeys God's will it is inherently an appeal (or a call) for God's saving grace. Paul obeyed and made the personal decision to be baptized as Ananias instructed. The Jews understood that only God is able to generate a miracle (cf. John 3:2). Hence, since Ananias was able to restore Paul's sight miraculously, this indicates that the entire event had been divinely orchestrated. Paul has made a good case that his conversion to Christ was not something done in rebellion to the will of God that his audience claimed to love. Paul, as zealous as he was for the law, surely did not turn his back on Judaism on a whim! He wants these Jews to understand that point.