The story of Christ’s appearance to St. Paul on the road to Damascus has special significance. First, and most obviously, the account stands apart from the others because St. Paul was not one of the original Twelve. This is important because it undermines skeptic claims that the resurrection was the product of the overactive imagination of Jesus’ followers. Not only was Paul not one of the original disciples—he was their persecutor. (Credit goes to this apologist for pointing this out to me.)
To me, the Damascus story also is especially noteworthy because, unlike all the other post-Resurrection appearances, it occurs after Jesus ascended. This points to the enduring reality of His presence.
St. Paul would go on to write about the centrality of the Resurrection to the Christian faith:
[I]f Christ has not been raised, your faith is pointless and you have not, after all, been released from your sins. In addition, those who have fallen asleep in Christ are utterly lost. If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are of all people the most pitiable. [1 Corinthians 15:17-19]
May we take these words to heart and consider ways in which the truth of the Resurrection is and should be at the center of our faith and devotions.
Next: The Replacement Apostle