16 March 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:”
(Acts 9:1-3; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
More than one believer has had his Road to Damascus awakening; and others that of the Road to Emmaus. Both illustrate a moment when faith makes perfect our understanding in the direction we are headed, and the Way we ought to go. Though these two events are similar, they also are different in some respects. On the Road to Emmaus, two men of faith were walking in a failure of that faith. They had believed, but their belief failed in full realization of the Redeemer whom they had believed and followed these past three years of His ministry. Not until He served them bread did they recognize Him as the Lord who had served them that last Passover meal in the Upper Room. They faith was confirmed and made whole in that latter Communion with Christ.
The man on the Road to Damascus had a totally different frame of mind. First of all, his faith was grounded in the wrong faith. Saul (later named Paul by the Lord) had believed the superstitions and false doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees. He was highly educated and likely sat under the great Hebrew teacher, Gamaliel. But the Jews had added their own laws to those of God and accorded them equal gravity – much like the Church of Rome through their Papal proclamations. He believed avidly in what he had been taught of these ‘traditions’ of men. His zeal to destroy the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ was founded in those misconceptions and errors he had believed. Now on the Road to Damascus, the Lord stopped Saul dead in His tracks with the same blinding light that has lightened the hearts of men from Abraham to the Apostles. Paul himself says: “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” Galatians 1:13-14
Paul experienced a private Epiphany on that Road to Damascus. In spite of his depth of education, it was not his education that made him to know and believe, but rather a spiritual awakening not unlike that of the two men on the Road to Damascus. The calling to be a servant of the Lord is not based on any level of education or degree, but upon the faith with which are hearts are endowed by the sure and certain drawing of the Holy Ghost.
Perhaps the reader of this devotion has experienced such an Epiphany in his walk of faith. The two men on the Road to Emmaus had faith, but it was a little faith that needed bolstering by the intercession of the Lord in Communion. We all have moments when, perhaps in great fear or despair, our faith may falter. But once the stormy cloud passes over, we are strengthened by the ordeal through an increased faith. Or, perhaps we were full of faith as was Saul on the road to Damascus, but it was the WRONG faith based on man’s religion and not that which the Lord Jesus Christ established. Regardless of the sincerity of our faith, if it is founded on anything other than the Word of God, it is futile. A strong and profound experience may be required to awaken us from our slumber. Whatever the horrific event that God may send our way to shock our spirits and to alter our courses, it will always be worth the ordeal in learning to know Him more and in not following the dictates of mere man less.
Not only do individual men and women experience such an epiphany, but nations as well that have once known God and turned away.
Our nation and people in America are on a far different road today than that which was providentially laid out to our Founding Fathers in the primitive days of our establishment as a free nation among the nations of the world. That road is not the same as the Road to Emmaus on which the travelers believed, but weakly. Our nation left that road long ago. We are now embarking upon a road much like that of Saul on the way to Damascus – this road is fraught with grave and eternal dangers. Our national faith today has become one based on pride, deceit, mammon, and satanic intrigue. Somewhere along this road, God may send a great sign of awakening to turn us back, or, else to allow us to continue on that Road of Perdition which we follow through the bondage of our sinful wills.