Most of us are familiar with the events surrounding the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, known to most of us as the apostle Paul. There are three records of his conversion. First the account of his conversion found in Acts chapter nine and then his relating of that event to the mob in Jerusalem (Acts 22:1-16) and to King Agrippa (Acts 26:1-18). A brief summary of those events are that while he traveled to Damascus to arrest those who were found guilty of being Christians, the Lord appeared to him on the road. At the appearance of the Lord, there was a bright light which left Paul unable to see. The Lord asked him why he was persecuting him. When Paul realized it was the Lord speaking to him, he asked what he needed to do. He was told to go into the city of Damascus and he would be told what to do. He was led blind to Damascus and prayed and fasted for three days. The Lord sent a faithful Christian named Ananias to assist him. Ananias then laid hands on Paul restoring his sight and told him to be baptized in order to wash away his sins.
As our title indicates, we wish to make a play on words by noting some things Paul saw (came to understand) while he was blind (unable to actually see with his eyes).
Paul saw that Jesus was the son of God. The Jews believed in a coming Messiah for the Old Testament scriptures taught such (John 5:39; Luke 24:27). However, until this point in time, Paul had not believed that Jesus was that coming Messiah. But, knowing that Jesus had been crucified, to now be faced with Him, he realized that Jesus had indeed risen from the tomb, proving that He was “the Son of God with power” (Rom. 1:4). Though Paul was blind, he could see that which multitudes today with perfect vision cannot see. All must come to the realization that, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Paul saw that he was a sinner and desperately in need of salvation. Though Paul was a very religious man, he saw that his religion was in vain. He was a devout Jew. He told the Galatian brethren that he “profited in the Jew’s religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers” (Gal. 1:15). Following in “the traditions of his fathers” was found wanting by Paul. Paul told the council of the Jews, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1). Sincerity and good conscience was found wanting by Paul. He realized that he had to do whatever the Lord said in order to have salvation. The Lord’s appearance to him on the road made a believer out of him, but he realized there was more needed. He “trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). Paul saw what many today cannot see, that being religious, following one’s traditional religion, being zealous in that religion and being sincere and of good conscience does not mean that one is saved.
Though many today scoff at the Lord’s church and its importance in salvation, Paul saw that one cannot separate Christ and His church. Paul, “yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1-2). He was persecuting the church, yet the Lord said unto him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:4). To the Colossians Paul wrote, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). Since Christ is the head of his church and his church is the body of Christ, one cannot persecute one without persecuting the other. To scoff at the church is to scoff at the body of Christ. Paul could see this and he was blind.
Paul saw that one had to be baptized into Christ for the remission of his or her sins in order to be saved. The Lord told Paul that he would be told in Damascus what he must do. When Ananias was sent by the Holy Spirit to assist Paul, he told him, “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). His obedience to the command of the Lord was immediate (Acts 9:18). Peter had taught this same requirement for salvation in the first gospel sermon on Pentecost. He said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). Later, Paul explained to both the Romans and the Galatians that it was through baptism that one entered into Christ (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). Paul could see this and he was blind. Why is it so many will deny the necessity of baptism for the remission of sins?
Indeed, Paul may well have been blind for three days, but he certainly had good understanding the entire time. (Send any questions to: email@example.com)