Verses 12-15 are the account of Paul’s conversion, while verses 16-18 are Paul’s commission. Why isn’t there more of the gospel than what we read here? Because Paul was an Old Testament scholar who needed no more than the realization that Jesus was alive and that He identified Himself with the Christians Paul was persecuting. For a Jew like Paul, seeing Jesus as the Messiah (the Christ) was the key that unlocked the entire Old Testament. Consider these texts:
So he said to them, “You foolish people – how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things written about himself in all the scriptures —Luke 24:25-27
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we behave with great boldness, and not like Moses who used to put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from staring at the result of the glory that was made ineffective. But their minds were closed. For to this very day, the same veil remains when they hear the old covenant read. It has not been removed because only in Christ is it taken away. But until this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds, but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed —II Corinthians 3:12-16
Did you catch that? When you turn to the Lord, the veil is removed—once you surrender to Jesus the hardness in your heart is removed; suddenly you have the needed understanding; all the things that were once hidden, are know revealed to you! In various ways, the Old Testament revealed that salvation would be accomplished through the coming of the promised Messiah. That Messiah would suffer and die for the sins of the people (Psalm 22; 69; Isaiah 52:13-53:12). This is why our Lord could show how the Old Testament foretold His coming, suffering, death, and resurrection. Devout Jews like Paul had all of the pieces of the puzzle; they just couldn’t put them together in order to see Christ—suddenly the puzzle pieces fall together to form a perfect picture of God’s plan of Redemption. Christ is the key to understanding salvation in the Scriptures. Once you turn to the Lord, “the veil is removed.”
While our text doesn’t really tell us, Luke told us earlier that Paul was blinded for three days, and that this blindness was removed through Ananias. During those three days of blindness, I can just imagine how Paul’s mind must have raced through the Old Testament, with the newly acquired knowledge that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Oh how the Scriptures must have begun to come to life. He may have slapped himself on the forehead, saying, “Oh, why didn’t I see that before!” How different everything looked now. Jesus was the missing key to what had previously been a puzzle. In the third chapter of Ephesians Paul tells us more about the “mystery of Christ.” Go read it again . . .
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Story of Acts