“…That you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:17
When someone accepts salvation, the conversion can often have a tremendous effect. Such was the case for Saul (who would soon become Paul) while he was walking to Damascus.
Saul was, without a doubt, not a kind and gentleman. He wasn’t the guy you would ask to help you move. No, he was a very proud man with a lot of hate in his heart. Still, he was no match for Jesus who changed his life so radically that he went on to be the greatest missionary the world has ever known.
How did Jesus do that? He captured Saul with one sure-fire tactic—He made Saul blind.
Why blindness? Why wouldn’t Jesus use some other method to reach Saul? The Bible doesn’t give us the answer, but we can reasonably conclude there are three reasons why Saul experienced this divine phenomenon.
On the Road
Jesus found Saul walking on a road in the middle of a mission to deliver letters from the chief priests in Jerusalem to the synagogues in Damascus. In the letters was a command to the priests to arrest anyone who was found to be a follower of “The Way” (Jesus), whether man or woman. After the arrest, they were brought back to Jerusalem to stand trial before the Pharisees.
Carrying these letters was a task Saul was all too happy to do. He couldn’t stand Christians. In Acts 26, (now) Paul is standing trial before King Agrippa after being accused of sedition by the Pharisees. Paul tells the king about his former hatred for Christians before he tells the story of his own conversion to Christianity.
“Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison having renewed authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.” Acts 26:9-11 NKJ
It cannot be understated that Saul outright hated Christians. He persecuted them to the point of death, and he did it often. What he didn’t understand was that when he was persecuting them, he was also persecuting Jesus, and Jesus wasn’t going to take it any longer.
It was time for Saul to experience a new line of work.
Paul Meets Jesus
The time came when enough was enough. Jesus came as a bright light shining down from heaven on Paul and those who were with him. Acts 9:4 says the light was so bright it caused them to fall to the ground.
Then, Saul heard a loud voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
Naturally, Saul asks, “Who are You, Lord?” Notice that Saul innately knows it’s God who is speaking to him.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” Jesus responds.
Surely, this made Saul shake in his sandals, so he asks, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Notice here too that Saul is responding with obedience as a Christian should.
Jesus explains that Saul should continue to Damascus where he will be told what to do. Saul’s colleagues stood up still hearing God but saw no one. Then Saul stood up and opened his eyes. That’s when he realized he had been made blind. Paul explains later in Acts 22:11 that he could not see “for the glory of the light.”
Saul was then led by the hand to Damascus where he didn’t eat or drink anything for three days as he sat in his new dark world waiting for further instructions. There was nothing to do but sit and listen.
At the end of the third day (a correlation to Jesus’ resurrection on the third day maybe?), Ananias was summoned by Jesus to go to Saul, lay hands on him, offer salvation, baptize him in the Holy Spirit, advise him to call on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16), and introduce him to the other disciples.
And so, Saul, his Hebrew name, changed his name to his Roman name, Paul, and began a ministry to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13) that forever changed the world.
3 Reasons for Paul’s Blindness
Jesus could have used any method to get Paul’s attention, but He chose blindness. The Bible doesn’t specifically explain, but we can reasonably assume three reasons why Jesus handled it this way.
With Paul being a very prideful and self-righteous man, it was necessary for Jesus to assert His authority and power. Paul needed a first-hand experience if he was going to be successful in his ministry.
Jesus called him “a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15).” Paul was specially chosen to spread the Gospel news, which he did very well. But before he could get started, he was going to need God’s power on his side and understand the magnitude of it.
The only way to do that was to stop Paul literally in his tracks and overwhelm him with His presence and glory.
We must all surrender to God if we’re going to experience true salvation and respond in obedience to His calling on our lives. Paul needed this too. His blindness caused him to understand that he is helpless before God and that he needed God in his life.
With Paul sitting in darkness for three days not knowing why it happened or if he would stay blind forever, God truly brought Paul to his knees. Humbled and confused, by the time Ananias appeared ready to lay hands and baptize him, Paul was completely ready to surrender to God’s will.
Spiritually, Paul needed to lose his sight in order to gain it. He wouldn’t be able to clearly see God unless his old way of looking at things was taken from him. The Bible doesn’t say, but I’m sure he was incredibly thankful when his sight was restored because he was then able to see God in a new light and with a new perspective.
Acts 9:18 says, “Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once, and he arose and was baptized.” The old way of seeing Christians and Christ Himself was gone. Those scales fell away. Now, he would become one of them. A chosen apostle commissioned for service to bring the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles.
Opening the Eyes of Your Heart
Paul’s conversion is an amazing story illustrating how nothing is too hard for God. He knows who He wants to call, He knows how to get their attention, and He can do it anytime, anywhere. Paul came to fully understand this.
Some have suggested that Paul had trouble with his vision throughout his life because of what he wrote in Galatians 6:11 (“See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand”). Despite his slight disability, the eyes of his heart were forever opened wide, and he longed the same for others.
“. . .that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints. . . “ Ephesians 1:17-18 ESV
Opening the eyes of your heart happens by simply surrendering to God’s power and love and responding in obedience to His calling for your life. Opened eyes that are diligently kept open are the ones that wholly experience the eternal fullness of God’s love, joy, hope, and blessing. Paul intimately knew this all his life after that fateful day on the road to Damascus. Listen to his words written in 2 Timothy 4:6-8:
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
May we all have the vision of open hearts fully surrendered to our Lord and Savior.
If you’re a fan of apostle Paul, you can read more about him over at Got Questions? They’ve done a good job detailing the three different missionary journeys he and his partners completed as they spread the good news of the Bible to the Roman world.
What a revelation. I loved reading the article and to know that God can use anything to bring us to our knees.
Is it possible to obtain a copy of this letter?
Rev. George Hicks
I don’t allow anyone to copy any articles due to plagiarism issues I’ve had in the past. Is there a certain section you’re interested in? I could email it to you. I’m assuming it is for personal use, yes?
Bless you, bless you and bless you. You touched my heart. I give thanks for this testimony.
Thanks, Juliette. Bless you as well.
Praise the almighty for his many blessings we all should learned from Paul story if you are blessed to be call pay very attention to your call and be grateful to the almighty God that’s u are chosen God blessed stay blessed with love
My daughter at 12 was struck by blindness that flares up . After doctors in uk singapore chennai cataract glucoma trav shunts 8 immunosuppressants she has had 38 implants needs antibody blasting therapy. Suffering 8 years her faith is remarkable. Helps teens prepares kids for water baptism is in youth sees goodness in all and walks in obedience to JESUS UNLIKE MY OTHER 2 WHO LIVE WORLDLY LIVES. YES JESUS CALLS AND EQUIPS WONDERFULLY.
What a beautiful testimony! I pray the Lord continues to bless her and your entire family. Don’t give up on your other kids. They’re paying more attention than you think.
the loudness of societys influences of “no white haired white bearded old man outside the 737 as you look down at cloudtops” confuses the old symbolic God in relative “up” and reptitiosly wears down the chance to be recieving Gods output by closed heart and mind. sometimes the bottom or a foxhole allows the two sibling soon to open themselves for Gods influence plan and thier destiny He wishes for everyone to be helpful and improve others lives and listen for His personal signs they will wonder am i on the path and just before deviating if so, a sign. Gob bless the messengers fishing men from the “hell” of the far distance from his Glory which is afterlife and restoration in a bodyless continuation of consciousness but wo a small mind needed to run a body a large glorious network of heaven and our good now nieghbors of the Fathers and Jesus residence. Sometimes the hopelessness is a doorway. feed them from there to the righous path. they will then enjoy less getting and more giving and it snowballs if they truely look for the way, the light and thier part of Gods plan for every molecule making that which controls with knowlege of right and wrong. help them stay open and stay with them. He moves in misterious ways but the signs never end to keep your path richous. if if you humble yourself. bless yall. and thanks be to God, and prairs of a touchdown arent for a dumb game but your given ability to use what Gods gifted you. Amen brothers and sis. Fight on for every fish you love sinking to the nobodys on a cloud out the window so stop w the God junk folk. They re eyes forced shut will not see ever till they open or Gods forced but God wants chosen openers and comes in before surrending. fight on. God is goodness and thats what keeps adding an extra day before God saves us on our worlds last dsy from ourselves of misery. fight for gooness. Amen shawn
God help me because l can’t control my tears anymore
I’m so sorry to hear you’re having a difficult time. Please remember the Lord is near to all who call to Him. He is faithful. He sees what you’re going through. So please don’t give up on His goodness. Keep praying. Keep talking to Him. Keep reaching out to Him. In time, you will see His deliverance. I’ve seen this in my own life many times, so I know it’s true. Never give up! I encourage you to also talk to a trusted friend or loved one. Talking about things takes the darkness away and allows God’s light in. Know there are people who care about you very much. You are never ever alone. God loves you so much. He is right there with you every step of the way. And I am praying for you. Be brave, be strong. You will get through this!
Thanks much for sharing this insightful information!
May the Good Shepherd continue to illuminate our path and open spiritual eyesight as we meditate upon His ever guiding and always transforming power of His Word!!
God bless you!!
Good day i want to say thanks to God for giving me sight in fact im blessed to be a life blessed to have read this message we have so much to be thankfull of but still be take the smallest things for granted like the fact that we woked up this morning and that we could open our eyes is a blessing from our father Lord God have a wonderfull day
Jesus doesn’t force people to believe by blinding them.
No, He doesn’t. But Paul was called, not forced. And Paul obeyed, which is why his blinding was exceptional.
Saul’s name was not changed by Jesus. It remained Saul. He embraced his heritage.
You’re absolutely right, Chris. I didn’t learn that until after I published this article. Paul was always his name in the Jewish faith. I appreciate you pointing that out to me. I will correct it. God bless.
Chronicles as well, is interpreted wrong. Thats why the book asks you to read it, not be preached of it.
Send us teaching on: Does God still punish us as in the Old Testament
Yhnx Danie RSA
Yes, He still does. Like a good parent, He punishes His children so they will turn from their sin and walk righteously with Him. I’m sure there were times when you were small and you needed to apologize to your parents for something you did, and (hopefully) they forgave you. In the same way, God longs to forgive us, but we must be willing to go to Him and repent. Until we do, He will allow punishments to happen in order to get our attention. Be clear here, though…God will forgive you, but you must still face the consequences of your choices. But that’s a whole lot easier when you have God walking alongside you. His love and grace are endless, and He will do everything to help you navigate the hard times until you emerge victorious. It’s better to not risk His punishment, of course. Remain in Him, stay close to Him, and make decisions based on what the Bible says. If you mess up, that’s okay. Go to Him and sincerely apologize, then pick yourself up and keep going. Remember His love and grace are always with you.
Punish and correct are not the same.
Correction requires consequences, which many people interpret as punishment. Forgive me if I’m not expressing myself quite right.
AWESOME. IT WAS CONFIRMATION
Thank you Gina …. This brought tears to my eyes ,I am so glad I read how you explained Paul’s story here, u have such a gift from our Lord Jesus!
God Bless You ❤️
Thank you so much, Femie. So sweet of you to say. I’m glad I could bless you. Hope you stop by again sometime.
Very well done!
Mayvthe Lord continue to bless and keep you!
Thank you, Susanna. May the Lord bless you as well.
Amen Su poder la Gloria de Dios
Su misericordia en traernos hacia El
Y Su restauración al elevarnos para Su Servicio
Padre Hijo y Espíritu Santo
Amen! Thank you, Yenisei. Very beautiful.
Wooow may the Almighty bless you more Gina with wisdom and understanding.
In no way do I compare myself to Jhon THE BAPTISTS. OTHER THEN TO SAY IM A SINNER. My whole life I lived in sin because I was taught that as a child. I’ve sinned deeply against Christians and men and women. I’ve spent 46 years of my adult life in prison I’ve been haunted by professional hit men I’ve faced death over and over again. And still I have sin in me!! But through all my suffering I blamed GOD for my life, why are you letting the devil overcome me everytime I try to change or want to change I whould still fail!! I have along journey to go still to become a good Christian but now I have a better understanding on what it takes. We all sin and through sin it has brought my saviour JESUS CHRIST so close to him I’ve seen heaven and I’ve seen purgatory thorough a vision!! So even for a man like me I have found favor in JESUS CHRIST MERCY!! And I’m terrified to stand before GOD to answer before GOD MY SINS. It’s taken me 63 YEARS to realize GOD LOVES ME when know one elas whould. I still struggle every single day but now when I feel overwhelmed I talk to my GOD and he will ease my pain!! I want no reply back from you, this email is for anyone who is struggling trying to find our saviour JESUS CHRIST. Sometimes it’s a short walk to redemption and sometimes you have to suffer for you to get closer to GOD but make no mistake about it he has a plan for each and evryone of us, and you will go through turmale in your life that you dont understand for some it’s a short journey and for others like myself its along journey but our LORD WILL NEVER LEAVE YOUR SIDE IF YOU BELIVE HE DIED FOR ALL SINNERS!!!! May GOD be with you all.