Paul stretches out his shackle bound hand to his listeners after given permission to speak. He is not shackled to their authority for he is shackled to Christ as His servant. (Ephesians 3:1-12) Paul has been called by Christ within an experience of Christ’s Glory. This is a Holy Spirit reality put into words by the Holy Spirit through Paul. All that Paul speaks as he is before Agrippa, Festus, dignitaries, scholars, and the ignorant is for the purpose of telling them that the Scriptural Hope of Resurrection is in Jesus Christ.In his witness, Paul elaborates for emphasis on the brightness of His Light midday on the road to Damascus. Paul says that his traveling companions were witness to the Light and the Glory of Christ for they all fell on the ground. Light surrounded all of them. When Jesus says, “It hurts you to kick against the goads,” He is using a common expression of Paul’s day. The goad is a gentle prod used to give oxen direction. Paul is kicking against God’s will.
Because of Paul’s hard heart he was rejecting God’s Plan of redemption in Christ, a Plan that includes him. Jesus Christ appears to Paul to appoint and (through Ananias not mentioned here, to anoint him through eye shackles miraculously removed and conversion witnessed by Ananias) anoint him. Holy Spirit affirms to all present that Paul is called to give Good News of Christ Resurrected to the Gentiles.
We lovingly call Paul the Apostle Paul and yet the Paul of Acts is not called to apostolic office– he is called as a servant prisoner for Christ. Jesus says to Paul, “I will rescue you from your people (the Jews) and from the Gentiles– to whom I am sending you to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to Light and from the power of satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” Jesus uses the word sanctified.
Sanctification occurs after the moment of salvation. It is an ongoing growing fullness of the Holy Presence of Christ within us. The responsibility of the Christian is to obey Christ through the Holy Spirit’s goading. The inward heartfelt relationship with Christ is a constancy with which the Holy Spirit blesses us with the Alive Presence of Jesus Christ.Jesus uses the word sanctified.
“With this in mind, I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 when at midday along the road, your Excellency, I saw a light from Heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. 14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.’ 15 I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen Me and to those in which I will appear to you. 17 I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to Light and from the power of satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:12-18