Summary: Waiting with God isn’t wasting time. Waiting with God it isn’t time taken away. Waiting with God is never a waste of time.
Note to reader: I have hot-links to various subjects in this sermon. The document with the active links can be found in PDF form at this web address: http://www.firstpresanchorage.org/Sermons.htm (The sermon is titled the same "Driving Blind"). May our Lord Jesus empower you as you write your sermon for your congregation. -Peter
When you go in for a test at the doctor’s office you hope for an answer on the first visit. But, then it turns out you will have to wait for a few days (or more) to get the answer.
Perhaps you remember a time when you just finished an exam that will determine the next step in your life, and for what seems like en eternity, you had to put your life on hold while you waited for the results.
All kinds of things can cause our lives to pause.
Maybe right now it feels like God has put your life on hold. You need something to happen in your life, it would REALLY help if something would happen in your life, but nothing seems to happen.
You pray, you reflect, you council with other believers - you may even submit your prayer to the prayer chain, but still, you hear nothing.
Your life is in the dark.
You have to wait. You don’t want to wait, but here you are, waiting.
So during this time of waiting, life goes on around you, but, there you sit. Waiting.
Here in our text today, we tend to notice the flash that surprises the everyone, we tend to notice the voice that confronts Saul and we tend to notice Saul falling to the ground - but we pass over the most important part - the time when Saul is literally, sitting in the dark.
Do you see that there in verse 9? For three days Saul was blind, he didn’t eat or drink. Think about this: Saul sits there in the dark, not knowing how long he will sit there, not knowing what will happen next, not knowing when he will ever see again. Wasn’t Jesus dramatic enough to get Saul attention with the flash, a surprising voice? Why have Saul wait for three days in the dark?
God knows what we fail to realize: Waiting with God isn’t wasting time.
How did Saul get to the place where God has him wait in the dark?
We saw back in chapter 7, a believer in Jesus Christ named Stephen claim that Jesus was greater than the Temple. Stephen argues that God historically met with people before the Temple was built so we don’t need the Temple to communicate with God. Stephen argues further that since Jesus is the one and only atoning sacrifice for all time - Jesus is all we need...and the Temple in Jerusalem is redundant, it is not needed.
For this, Stephen was killed by the highest religious court in the land - and there at the execution was Saul, giving his consent. Remember, those who threw the stones placed their cloaks at his feet - they took off their cloaks so they could easily heave the heavy stones at Stephen.
Saul is the first real enemy of the Church of Jesus Christ, and here in verse 1, Saul asks for, and receives papers of authorization to hunt down Christians. Now, can Saul pick up just any Christian? No, Saul cannot arrest just any Christian. Saul is only after the Greek speaking believers. Perhaps the high priest thought that if the Hellenists where brought under control, the situation would settle down.
We saw that Stephen, was a Hellenistic Jew, which is a person of Jewish ethnicity who spoke Greek as their first language, as opposed to Jews who spoke Aramaic as their first language. Remember, examples of Aramaic speaking Jews would be the Apostles and Jesus Christ. These Aramaic speaking Jews tended to be locals in Palestine, while Greek speaking Jews tended to be outsiders to Palestine. Stephen was a leader in the Church yes, but Stephen was specifically a leader in the part of the church that spoke Greek. It is these Greek speaking Jewish believers who are being targeted by the high priest. They are the one who are seen as creating all this trouble about Jesus and the Temple since this idea about Jesus being greater than the Temple originated in the Greek speaking community.
Back chapter 8 it was the Greek speaking Jewish believers who fled Jerusalem after the death of Stephen, not the Aramaic speaking Jewish believers - we saw the Apostles, who were Aramaic speaking, were left alone. Saul is on his way to Damascus to arrest Greek speaking Jewish believers who have fled Palestine.
How can Saul do this? Aren’t the Romans in control of the territory? Well, yes the Romans are in control of punishing civil and criminal crimes, but the high priest had special extradition rights to bring back Jews for over one hundred years at this point in history.