So why did God wait until Saul approached Damascus to confront him? Of course, Saul posed no threat to God. God could have easily killed Saul for murdering Christians. But God did not choose death to confront and maybe resolve Saul’s hate toward Christians. Instead, God used light. As a matter of fact, this light was two things.
On the one hand, it was a physical light Saul saw and felt. For instance, the light was seen coming from the sky. And this light was so powerful that it knocked him to the ground. Another place in Scripture gives a similar account of a sense other than touch knocking people to the ground. When Judas the betrayer came with a group of soldiers, they asked who was Jesus. But when Jesus answered them, something strange happened. When Jesus said, “I am he,” the soldiers and officers fell to the ground (John 18:4-5). Similar to Saul’s experience, we have a sense other than touch (hearing) cause people to fall to the ground. And also like Saul’s experience, God could have easily killed these soldiers to preserve the life of Jesus. But God did not use force and let the soldiers capture Jesus.
On the other hand, this light was metaphysical (spiritual). That is to say, this light represented Jesus the Light and the glory of God. In fact, seems that since it makes no sense that hearing or sight can knock a person to the ground, that something spiritual must have done it. Thus, it is very reasonable to believe that Jesus, the light and the glory of the Lord knocked Saul and the soldiers to the ground.
Purpose of the Light
But what is the purpose of using this Light if it did nothing in the physical world? Well, this Light was used, as Scripture proves, not to change the outcome of the physical world. For example, God did not need to knock Saul to the ground to stop him. Neither did God have to knock the soldiers to the ground to stop them from taking Jesus. But this Light has a very intriguing purpose. Its purpose appears to be to change or affect something in the spiritual world. In the case of Saul, the light might have been used to change or affect Saul’s heart. And with the soldiers and officers who intended to take Jesus, the Light might have been used to change or affect their hearts.
So why did God wait until Saul approached Damascus to knock him to the ground with this Light? Well, we know the answer appears to be far from relating to anything entirely physical.