If you’ve driven much or for long distances, you know that detours are a part of travel. Sometimes the detours are planned, and other times they are random. Some detours are absolutely necessary. While I was driving west from St. Louis, MO. There were many signs of a detour, which was discouraging. It was even more discouraging when the detour trickles down to one lane and everyone is creeping along. I just want to burst out of there, but as I was about half-way through the detour we passed what we were detouring. Usually, I see construction to repair bridges, but this time for whatever reason, they decided to destroy the entire bridge. There I could see an entire four-lane interstate bridge destroyed. That detour becomes a comfort all of a sudden. Someone who knew the roads better than I did, deemed it important to string a detour so I would not fly over a cliff and perish at the bottom of the ravine. I needed to trust the detour.
Saul experienced such a detour on his way to Damascus. He was on a mission to destroy those who were of “this way” meaning those who were following Jesus Christ. He was the master of his life. He had everything figured out. He was heading down the road that had a bridge out and if he kept going at breakneck speed, he would eventually destroy himself, but there was a divine detour. Jesus stunned his journey with his luminous presence which was “above the brightness of the sun” (Acts 26:13).
Saul asks two questions which are vital for those who will follow the divine detour. First, he asked, “Who art thou, Lord” (Acts 9:5)? The response, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest,” put a face on his crusade. Later, in Romans, this same man wrote, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8). He completely understood what it meant to be that righteous man who deserved eternal torment in hell. He was that man and he encountered God on this gracious day.
The first question provided the necessary facts. Who are you? I am Jesus. Salvation hinges upon what you do with Jesus. Will you willingly submit to Him as Master? Will you ignore the divine detour and continue on your path to destruction? Saul asked, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do” (Acts 9:6)? The Bible tells us one day every knee will bow before King Jesus. In order to be saved, one must acknowledge his sinfulness and desperate need for the grace of the King. It is the stubborn one who rejects the grace of salvation who will be broken before the holiness of God.
This divine detour is an important reminder. Knowing who the Lord is—a cognizant awareness of His identity—is insufficient. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Many will know Who He is, but without humbly recognizing your sin and requesting the grace of forgiveness, you will ignore the divine detour to your detriment. Heed the detour. It is a matter of eternal life.