Saul was a Jewish Pharisee who persecuted the followers of the Christ. He was present at the stoning of Stephen.
While he was traveling from Jerusalem on the road to Damascus, he had a supernatural conversion experience.
His intent for going to Damascus was to deliver to the officials in the synagogue a mandate issued by the high priest to arrest the followers of Jesus and turn them over to Saul so he could take with him as prisoners back to Jerusalem to be punished. However, his journey was interrupted by his encounter with the miraculous.
An intense light blinded him for three days. He claimed that he had seen God and Christ.
His Hebrew name, Saul, was changed to Paul, its Roman form, and he no longer persecuted the early Christians. Instead, he become a follower of Jesus, and, from that point on, he spent the rest of his life as a traveling apostle.
The painting shows Saul at the moment of his encounter with the blinding light of the Christ.
Paul, a former Pharisee, went on to explain Jesus's message in a very logical and even Pharisaical way. His preaching and writings won many converts.
Unfortunately, Paul's letters have been used by many modern day Christians to reduce Jesus's message to a formula for salvation and a set of us-and-them, legalistic rules for living which they quote to pass judgement on others --- something that is completely the opposite of what Jesus preached.
My painting is an interpretation of a painting of the same subject by artist, Julie Lonneman, that I had seen on her website. I was impressed by the way the eyes were depicted.
We might say that Saul was blinded in order that he might see. When we perceive the clarity of truth, it can be like a blinding light.
Have you ever had a supernatural religious experience?
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