14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’
19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’
21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
Some of us like to plan out what we will be doing in the next week, next month, next year or at retirement. Others will live life as it comes and adjusting to whatever comes their way. Sometimes we will be stubborn and continue on our own path without realizing that our plans will not turn out. We’ll try again and again and think that if we persevere, it will all work out. If we are lucky, we will get blindsided and learn that we need to stop what we are doing and do something else. In football, blindsided means being attacked or tackled from your blind spot.
Paul had plans to persecute and stop all of the disciples of Jesus. He was probably thinking that God was with him as Stephen was stoned and he was on his way to kill and punish as many Christians as he could. All of his plans came to a halt when Jesus blindsided him on the way to Damascus. Jesus questioned Paul and suddenly he found himself convicted of fighting God. He was sincere and thought he was doing the Jews a favour by stopping what he thought was heresy. He was baptized and had his sins forgiven. As a Jew, he went back to Jerusalem and probably had plans on telling people that he is now a Christian. God is wise and gave him new directions to go far away and preach to the Gentiles instead of the Jews.