Things Paul Saw While Blind
Published 1:41 pm Friday, August 18, 2023
One of the most dreaded, non-deadly human maladies is blindness. Those born with or stricken with blindness lead lives that are hindered from living what most would call a normal life. Whether by illness, injury or old age, blindness comes to many. However, there is a blindness that is more devastating than physical blindness, it is spiritual blindness. In the Bible, we can read about both types of blindness.
The Bible speaks of physical blindness like the man Jesus healed in John 9. Then there is spiritual blindness; the one seen on many occasions in the Bible. It was spiritual blindness which Isaiah prophesied in (Isaiah 6:9-10). This was the passage that Paul referred to in Acts 28:26-27, when he said, “…Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
While physical blindness only affects a few people in our world, all people at one time or another experience spiritual blindness and there are some people like the apostle Paul which experienced both types. In 1 Timothy 1:13, Paul said of himself, “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. Then in Acts 26:9 KJV, “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” But according to Acts 9:1-20, while he was on the Damascus road, the Lord appeared to him and struck him with physical blindness. This occasion allowed Saul to begin to see with his heart what he could not see with his eyes. But what was it that Saul saw while he was blind that would lead him to conversion and to become the Apostle Paul?
First, Paul saw his Ignorance concerning religion, the Church, and Jesus. After his experience on the road to Damascus, Saul the persecutor would be led to learn the truth (1 Timothy 1:12-15). In the accounts of his conversion in Acts 9; 22 and 26, Saul was taught that he must be baptized to wash away his sins. He yielded to the commands of the Lord. His road to salvation was completed in that act of obedience. After his conversion he prayed for the blindness/ignorance of his fellow Jews (Rom. 10:1-3). Paul was no longer ashamed of the Gospel that led him to salvation (Romans 1:16-1). Today it is that same Gospel that must be taught by the disciples of Christ and obeyed by all men to wash away their sins (Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21; Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3-4).
Second, Paul saw The True Identity of Jesus, that He was truly the Son of God. According to Acts 9:20, Paul was so convinced of the identity of Jesus that he preached him in the synagogues, and he travelled throughout the known world teaching others about the deity of Jesus and the fact that Jesus must be accepted and acknowledged by all men (Acts 17:1-4). See also (Philippians. 2:9-11).
Next, Paul saw that he Was a Sinner. In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul said that he thought himself to be “a Hebrew of the Hebrews…concerning the righteousness, which is in the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:5-6). He was wrong concerning his beliefs about Jesus and the Church; when he realized his error, he obeyed the Gospel of Christ. After his blindness and conversion, in his letter to Timothy he recalled his former days and realized he was a sinner (1 Tim. 1:15). The same is true today, every accountable person must come to the same conclusion (Rom. 3:10, 23), or face the consequences (Romans 3:10; 23; Romans 6:23). Fourth, Paul saw that sincerity alone was not enough to save a man. He testified of his dedication while practicing Judaism and persecuting the Church and Jesus (Acts 26:9-11; Gal. 1:13-14). He even said that he had a good conscience before God as he persecuted (Acts 23:1). Then Paul Saw That The Law of Moses Had Passed Away. Paul had been trained in the Law of Moses by Gamaliel. (Acts 22:3), a renowned teacher of his day. Paul reminded his audience that he, like his ancestors, had followed the Law (Col. 2:14). But that Law was nailed to the Cross of Jesus. See also (Hebrews 8:7-13; Galatians 5:4).
Paul also saw that a person cannot “Pray Through” to Salvation. Even though he was praying prior to his meeting with Annanias (Acts 9:10-11), Paul was told that in the city of Damascus he would be told what he needed to do in order to be right with God (Acts 22:10). We learn that Cornelious of Acts 10, a good man that prayed to God, was told in Acts 11:13-14, “…Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon…Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.” If you are not a Child of God today, the question is what do you see concerning Jesus. Are you able to see the things Paul saw while he was blind? We should all remember that while physical blindness is a challenge which people can learn to live with and be successful, spiritual blindness is far worse for it damns the soul. All men must come to the Great Physician, Jesus the Christ, to be healed (Matt. 11:28-30).
(Tony Hoss is minister of the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton)