And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. (Acts 9:9)
What did Saul think about, as he stumbled meekly to Damascus, having to be led by the hand of his companions? His whole worldview was upended, everything he thought he knew about God, scripture, salvation, Jesus and lastly about himself had ben wrong.
He thought he was more zealous for the God of his fathers than anyone else in his religion. He was a Pharisee ! But the truth is, he had been fighting God all along, not serving Him.
Saul hated Jesus, and tried to destroy the crucified false prophet’s followers, who were apostates. But the truth was, Jesus is no longer dead, He is alive. He is the God who Saul had been fighting! The followers of Jesus were in continuity with the faithful Jews of all generations, persecuted by Pharaohs, Caesars, Antiochus and as of late Saul.
Saul had identified with Moses, but really he was more like Pharoah.
Why did the Messiah have to die on a cross? What would it now mean to serve God? How could Saul’s sins against Jesus and his followers ever be forgiven?
I have no doubt that scriptures flooded Saul’s mind, in a new light, mysteries in Moses and the Prophets that te Rabbi’s and sages had answers for, but not in the clarity that Saul now began to understand them. His experience was perhaps similar to two dejected followers of Jesus on the third day after he was crucified,
And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.(Luke 24:14-21)
They assumed that Jesus had died and it was all over. Their cause was lost, and Jesus couldn’t have been the Messiah, because he was crucified and died. But Jesus led them in a Bible study that changed their lives,
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.(Luke 24:25-27)
The Messiah started in Genesis, no doubt, citing the primal promise of Salvation, concerning ‘the seed of the woman’,
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.(Genesis 3:15)
And led them through the story of Joseph, despised and rejected of his brothers, the Sons of Israel, and Moses, whose brethren said “Who made you a judge over us?”.
He would have cited the scriptures such as the Serpent lifted on a pole, to demonstrate that it was always God’s purpose to send a substitute as a sin offering, that the Messiah had to be lifted up just as the serpent was,
And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.(Numbers 21:8-9)
Jesus would have gone on through the Judges, especially Samson who was a type of the Messiah, on into Psalms such as Psalm 22 which described the crucifixion, 700 years before there was such a thing,
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?… But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. …1 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture…(Psalm 22:1-17)
All day Long Jesus showed the dejected disciples, that Messiah had to suffer and even die before he could enter into his glory, and that he had to die as a sacrifice for our sins, as Isaiah and other prophets show.
What Jesus did for these disciples, he no doubt did for the thoroughly humbled, and disoriented Saul in the three days of darkness. He would have known all of these passages, but never in the light he saw them in after those three days. Slowly the Truth formed in his broken soul, Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, the ‘seed of the woman’, the suffering and gloriied Servant of Jahweh. He died a shameful death for Saul’s sins, and for the sins of the whole World, but God had raised Him from the dead, and has exalted Him.
Like the disciples on that first post resurrection Bible study, Saul’ heart began to burn within Him, with Holy love and gratitude. After three days he was ready for the next step.