Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 8Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 10Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” 15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
They heard the voice but saw no one. What a dramatic scene, right? Yes, we know this as Saul's story but the folks around him are on this roller coaster of a journey too. The men, the assistant persecutors, the friends, the colleagues of Saul also heard the voice. But they saw no one. Lightning or flashes of light, or something... what a show. Shocked to the ground, Saul begins to get up only to find that no only had they not seen anyone, he could no longer see anything.
His companions would now have to lead him by the hand. Their fearless leader - now being led around like a child. What were these men thinking?
They take him to the house of Judas. Who was he in the grand scheme of things? Was this a hospitality house of sorts? Was it a hotel? Was it a friend's home? And if a friend - was this also a persecutor of the church? What did this person say of Saul's blindness? When Saul wasn't in the room, what did they all talk about?
After all, they had three days of this blindness. Three days to think about their life with a blind leader. Three days to get their resumes ready.
Then the story turns to Ananias. One of the faithful followers of the Way. He hears a voice too. He has no need to see someone. He knows the voice. Presumably, he has heard this voice before. In fact there's a familiarity in his reaction to the voice. He begins in conversation with it. He pushes back at the voice. "Lord, I've heard about this man..."
The Lord says, "Go." Ananias goes. What was that scene like? What was the journey to Straight St. like? Did Ananias bring friends? It doesn't say so but that would seem odd too, right? I mean certainly he would've brought others to see about Saul. Certainly he would've brought at least one other friend who could have his back, help him out, give a witness.
There's a full room at Judas' house. It's not just Saul's story. The story is about two worlds colliding because people listen for voices, hear voices and follow voices.
The story isn't just about Saul and his new calling. It's about the new calling for his friends who had to lead their leader by the hand when needed.
The story isn't just about Saul's blindness. It's about Ananias and the others having to see Saul as an instrument of God before it had happened.
There's a full room at Judas' house. Even we are in that room somewhere.
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