and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Saul as he was known to his fellow Pharisees was a cop for the law. The anti Christian law of the Pharisees and their temple based religion.
Just in the last chapter we saw him in collusion with the murders of Stephen. But He could not forget what he saw could he? Stephen was radiant as he died, You can kill the body but not the spirit!
As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
This light was no ordinary light on a physical level. It was revelation like Paul would later receive and share
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Many of us are blinded by Satan and all his distractions of his world. The pull of lust and desire of the flesh. The pride of levels and false security of position. The threat of losing it all and dying. Shush!
He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
Some blame God to be the one that blinds and gives sight. That was a belief from the limited revelation given to Moses. God made the eyes and makes sight and he also makes men blind?
And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?
Then Jesus came healing the blind with clay and opening the eyes of our understanding by the revelation of the spirit. Never did JEsus make people blind or harden their hearts. The devil did but he was not revealed nor God fully understood until Jesus stood to fully reveal who God is and who the enemy is. It was so unclear until the word of God came as a man named Jesus! A Man who explained love by action.
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
No one fully saw God until they saw the image of God as Jesus His Son!
Satan that old serpent gained control of God’s Creation for an age, and a period. He is the cause of blindness! not our Father!
But it took the holy spirit living in a man to show these truths when the eyes of their understanding were opened and see the hope. Paul was about to have his spiritual eyes opened on the road to Damascus!
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Jesus Christ was asecended to the right hand of God in heavenly realms. ALso we ,who were called to be part of His body, the so called church or Ekkelsia were called out of this world age of satan.
Now when Saul was hurting the smallest believer Jesus felt pain! We are all members of His Body. Our spirit is eternal and already in heavenly places seated next to the Father. But our body are not there yet. We are all part of the Lord doing his job on earth.
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
There are consequences for beating up Christ by beating on his followers.
Paul could have just died on the spot of a stroke, but he was called. He could have died like Ananias and Saphirra but Paul was called to do a great work in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus told Paul to go see a reluctant Ananias. Not the same person that died earlier in Acts. But the name still was « favored of God » and so this Ananias was. He had the priveledge of healing Paul and sending him on his new missiom
Jesus revealed to Ananias of Damascus what that was
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
This story is a great lesson on How God our Father has it all figured out. He has time and space in His hands so He has no trouble planning. He placed Saul on the road to Damascus. Then knocked him off his high horse of pride and humbled him (or you can say Saul humbled himself) by blindness. Then sent him away to the house of Judas on the Straight street in Damascus.
And now sends little, but faithful Ananias to bless the great persecutor and murder of his family, Saul. Wow! God does work in strange ways! At least to our limited point of view. God has it all planned from the beginning to the end, because He is the author of the whole story
And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Now Saul was listening to Jesus and he was getting the eyes of his understanding enlightened. Finally!
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
This shows that there is a two way conversation in prayer. Like David showed in his psalms we can question God and if we do not understand or like what we are told to do, we can ask.
And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
It was courageous that Ananias took the chance to follow the spirit rather than his own experience. It was forgiveness to obey and heal a man responsible to kill his friends and fellow Christ followers. But God did not go into a lengthy explanation. He said GO!
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
But God did tell Ananias that He had a plan. He chose Saul to be Paul to preach to the Gentiles.
He was a Pharisee, but experienced not only in the Hebrew language but Greek since Saul or Paul was brought up in a Hellenized colony as a Jew.
For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
God called Paul to pour his life out for winning more and more souls to Christ.
Ananias could have said no, but he did not. He walked on faith in spite of all the murder and torture he had seen with his eyes or at least knew about by his ears. He walked on faith and obeyed God
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Yes it was important for Paul to have some limited sight restored but more than that he needed spiritual eyes of the holy spirit. And what grace and forgiveness God gave in order to give him this gift of the holy spirit to full capacity. Did Saul deserve it? No
But he was ready to use it
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
If God was a taskmaster and not a loving Father of all men, there would be not grace. But Paul was chosen as a vessel and even his life was a story of ultimate grace.
That he would have the priviledge and grace to unravel and explain the mystery of Christ to the rest of the world, is amazing! Why Paul? God was going to show Paul before hand how « great » he would suffer for the name of Jesus.
We want to see Saul punished for all the destruction he caused. Normal human thinking. But God is love! And forgives! So did Paul have a suffering life as pay back for his murders? But God is love and love thinketh no evil and believes all things for people! So it was translated “what great things he suffered for the name” ouch!
Now I want to make a comment here. The world translated « suffer » has come down the English language pike as a negative word. But it is Pascho in Greek and it means what you “experience” both good and bad. Paul always had the grace to pass through all his tests as more than a conqueror and even victorious up to his death, only because of one thing…..Grace and that was Pauls experience. He proved grace and knew it. that was his experience or “suffering” To see the glory of grace in action.
Yes he suffered for Jesus. But it was a glorious experience
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
The power of Christ is worth it to say you have experienced it.