Many have sought to recapture the moment in art, drama, and music. All attempts, while ultimately failing to completely tell the story, point to the experience of it from the perspective of Paul and of the artist.
It is the experience, before, during, and subsequently upon reflection, that Paul testifies to before the commander.
Saul, the Jewish scholar, known by the masses as Paul, the apostle, was changed forever by one moment in time. It was a time of encounter with the living Jesus and with himself.
All of his life coalesced into that moment and that moment lived with him for the rest of his life.
It was always alive, always active, always transforming.
He told the story to any who would listen.
He was on one road with one purpose when something happened to cause him to change roads and purpose.
It does not happen to all people the same way, but we all have moments - maybe one, maybe many.
In those moments, everything suddenly makes sense and is redefined in the light of the vision we receive.
Think about your own moment of clarity. How would you tell the story?
New Living Translation
As Paul was about to be taken inside, he said to the commander, “May I have a word with you?”
“Do you know Greek?” the commander asked, surprised. “Aren’t you the Egyptian who led a rebellion some time ago and took 4,000 members of the Assassins out into the desert?”
“No,” Paul replied, “I am a Jew and a citizen of Tarsus in Cilicia, which is an important city. Please, let me talk to these people.” The commander agreed, so Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people to be quiet. Soon a deep silence enveloped the crowd, and he addressed them in their own language, Aramaic.
“Brothers and esteemed fathers,” Paul said, “listen to me as I offer my defense.” When they heard him speaking in their own language, the silence was even greater.
Then Paul said, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did, just like all of you today. And I persecuted the followers of the Way, hounding some to death, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison. The high priest and the whole council of elders can testify that this is so. For I received letters from them to our Jewish brothers in Damascus, authorizing me to bring the followers of the Way from there to Jerusalem, in chains, to be punished.
“As I was on the road, approaching Damascus about noon, a very bright light from heaven suddenly shone down around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
“‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.
“And the voice replied, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, the one you are persecuting.’ The people with me saw the light but didn’t understand the voice speaking to me.
“I asked, ‘What should I do, Lord?’
“And the Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything you are to do.’
“I was blinded by the intense light and had to be led by the hand to Damascus by my companions. A man named Ananias lived there. He was a godly man, deeply devoted to the law, and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus. He came and stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight.’ And that very moment I could see him!
“Then he told me, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and hear him speak. For you are to be his witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard. What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord.’
La conversion de Saint Paul (vers 1690), par Luca Giordano (Naples 1634 - Naples 1705).(Le haut du tableau a été supprimé sur la photo pour éviter un reflet.) Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy.