Saul of Tarsus, a student of Jewish law, zealously persecutes early Christians. But after experiencing a blinding vision of Jesus while traveling to Damascus, where he intended to carry out more persecutions, Saul converts to Christianity. Changing his name to Paul, he becomes a tireless evangelist, preaching in the name of Jesus to Jews and Gentiles alike from the Near East to Rome. Saul is a student of Jewish law who is implacably opposed to the "heresy" of the Christian .He stands by as the Jewish religious court, the Sanherdrin, sentences Stephen to death by stoning for his Christian beliefs. The eager Saul even holds the coat of one of those who stones Stephen. Like the others, he doesn't see as the heavens open to Stephen, who says, "Behold, I see the heavens open, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God." Even the moderating influence of his teacher, Rabbi Gamaliel, has no influence on the hot-headed Saul. Saul unleashes a reign of terror against the Christians of Jerusalem. Some manage to flee to distance cities like Damascus, but Saul is determined to pursue them and bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment. As Saul gallops toward Damascus on his mission of persecution, he encounters a vision of Jesus which changes his life forever. A great light streaks down from heaven and knock him on the ground. Jesus appears to Saul out of the light and ask him "Saul, why do you persecute me?" "What would you have me do?" the terrified Saul asks Jesus. Jesus tells him to go into Damascus where he will learn his fate. His soldiers have to carry Saul there, as he has been struck blind by the vision. The Lord the appears in a dream to Ananias, a faithful Christian, telling him to lay his hands on Saul and giving him back his sight so that Saul can carry out his chosen mission- "Teach my gospel to the gentiles, to kings and to the children of Israel." " It is by Christ that I an healed and for given," Saul replied, promising to preach the word of Jesus in every synagogue. Saul recognizes himself as someone born anew- Paul. Meanwhile, Caiaphas' men relentlessly search for Paul, ready to punish him as once he punished others. The Christians community hiding Paul helps him escape from Damascuc, lowering him over the city walls in a basket. Paul journeys to the cities of the Mediterranean world, preaching the word of Jesus.
Galatians 1:3-5 New International Version (NIV)
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.