Why was Saul Blinded for Three Days?
Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.Acts 9:8-9
Saul was on his way to Damascus to arrest Christians. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:4-5). When Saul got up off the ground he could not see. Why do you think Jesus blinded Saul?
In order to understand why Jesus blinded Saul we need to have a better understanding of Saul. Saul’s parents worked for the Roman government and even thought they were Jewish. They became Roman citizens therefore Saul was a Roman citizen at birth. Saul was well educated and trained by the premier teacher Gamaliel, who taught Saul how to become a Pharisee. Saul excelled in his learning and advanced faster than the others in training. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers (Galatians 1:14).
It appears Saul excelled in the Pharisee’s laws, and his pride kept him from seeing the truth of Christ. It is the same today for many people who are comfortable with their own beliefs. They harden their hearts to the truth. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son (John 3:18). When we choose our own beliefs it can harden in our hearts like concrete and it becomes nearly impossible to find God’s truth. So how did Jesus change Saul’s beliefs?
Saul was blinded by Jesus and this made him dependent on others which limited his leadership. Now Saul lived in Jerusalem where Jesus ministered and was crucified, therefore he probably heard Jesus’ teachings, saw his miracles, and his crucifixion. Now when Saul asked “Who are you Lord? – and the Lord replied “I am Jesus.” Saul immediately equated the Lord as Jesus. For three days Saul was blinded and was deep in thought. During this time he probably pondered the life of Jesus along with the Old Testament prophecies. This led him to firmly believe God’s truth. He recognized Jesus as Lord and Messiah.
If people today would stop and think deeply about their justified truth, they could seek and find God’s truth. Jesus changed Saul’s hardened heart so he would be open to receive the truth from God. We cannot change hearts the way Jesus changed Saul’s heart, so how do we change hardened hearts?
Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31). When we truly love and care for others and approach them with gentleness and wisdom in our words, we can possibly bring the truth to people without making them angry and defensive. This can be difficult and often requires the skills of a counselor, and Jesus was the perfect counselor. However, a truly caring heart that presents truth in love is the most powerful weapon against Satan’s lies.
Today, notice people who believe their own truths. Seek to show God’s truth to them with love, peace, and joy. If possible get to know other people and pray for a gentle approach with them. Try to understand why they believe what they believe and the circumstances that may have brought them to seek their own truth. Learning to listen intently is extremely important when ministering to hardened hearts; although some may never believe the truth.
Let’s Pray: Lord, help me to love others as I love myself and to desire the best for them, both physically and spiritually. Guide me to speak words of wisdom with gentleness and patience and to bring your truth to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.