Transforming Encounters

by Barry Newton

When Jesus arranges a meeting you know something important will happen. Through two meetings Jesus orchestrated, Acts 9 recounts how a seeing blind man became a blind seeing man before becoming someone who perceived everything clearly. Is it ironic or is it the workings of the Lord’s poetic tapestry that we later discover this man’s purpose would involve opening the eyes of the Gentiles to turn them from darkness to light (Acts 26:17)?

As Saul of Tarsus set out for Damascus to pursue and persecute Christians, he had no difficulty seeing the road upon which he walked. But he was blinded to the reality that in fighting against Jesus’ followers he was actually opposing God. The first meeting Jesus arranged, changed all of this.
As the heavenly light shone down upon Saul, knocking him to the ground, and Jesus spoke to him, Saul clearly perceived the error of his mission. However, this encounter with Christ left Saul groping in absolute darkness for a hand to guide him on the road. For three long days in Damascus, Saul’s world lay shrouded in darkness while being fully aware of who Jesus really is. Saul had been humbled.

Then Jesus arranged a second meeting, this time between Saul and Ananias. Again a transforming moment unfolded. Jesus sent Ananias so that Saul might regain his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

At this meeting, scales fell from Saul’s eyes enabling light to once again penetrate them. With baptism, his sins were washed away and the Lord added Saul to his community living in the light. Saul had been saved. In every sense of the word, he could now see.

While walking this earth Jesus had taught: “I came into this world for judgment, so that the blind will see and those who see may become blind.” When the Pharisees questioned Jesus as to whether he was insinuating they were blind, Jesus responded: “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but since you claim you can see, your sin remains” (John 9:39,41).

When Jesus told his disciples to go into the whole world proclaiming his message, Jesus commissioned his disciples to arrange meetings where through the gospel people would be encountering Jesus. Some of the blind will see and be forgiven. Others claiming they are just fine, will remain blind.

Perhaps for us the question is, how many meetings have we arranged for our friends to meet Jesus so that darkness may be overcome with light?

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