BLINDED AND BLIND!
"As I arrived on the outskirts of Damascus about noon, a blinding light blazed out of the skies and I fell to the ground, dazed. I heard a voice, 'Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?'
"'Who are you, Master?' I asked.
"He said, 'I am Jesus, the Nazarene, the One you're hunting down.' My companions saw the light but they didn't hear the conversation.
"Then I said, 'What do I do now, Master?'
"He said, 'Get to your feet and enter Damascus. There you'll be told everything that's been set out for you to do.' And so we entered Damascus, but nothing like the entrance we had planned -- I was blind as a bat and my companions had to lead me by the hand." Acts 22:6-11a (The Message).
Blinded and blind! Paul's vivid encounter with the alive and living Jesus outside Damascus was forever engraved in his memory and coloured his understanding of the ways of the God.
Was he writing about himself when he penned the words, "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God"? 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV).
En route to Damascus, it was a spiritually blind Saul who was bent on wiping out the people who were following Jesus in a new way of living. Then a blinding light shone in his eyes, blinding him so that he had to be led by the hand into the city. Blind on the outside, it was the first time he had really "seen" the light. "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV).
Jesus claimed the title, "Light of the World". On the first day of creation, God declared, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. What was this light, since the heavenly bodies were only created on the fourth day? John gives us the answer. "Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it...The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world." John 1:3-5; 9 (NIV).
Before He made the physical lights, God assigned the earth to Jesus to be the light of understanding and truth in a world controlled by the prince of darkness. His presence dominates the Old Testament but His people were blind to Him.
He tried to alert the religious leaders of His day to this truth in His encounters with them but they persistently rejected His claims because they were too blind to recognise Him. "'Your father, Abraham, rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.' "'You are not yet fifty years old,' the Jews said to Him, 'and you have seen Abraham!' "'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!" John 8:57-58 (NIV).
That sent His opponents over the edge! They refused to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus. This kind of blindness is a choice. "'This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light so that it may be seen plainly, that what he had done has been done through God.'" John 3:19-21 (NIV).
"But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7 (NIV).
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