Scripture Reading for the Day: Acts 9:1-20
Three Days of Darkness
Let’s not nerf the crisis of violence Saul presented for the growing followers of the Way. As we begin Acts chapter 9, “Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” His desire is to seek and annihilate this uprising. He is a man on a mission, face firmly set on his goal on the road to Damascus. This is when he is stopped, literally, in his tracks by Christ who audibly says to him: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul then spends the next 3 days blind and not eating or drinking anything. It isn’t until the Holy Spirit brings a disciple named Ananias and Saul together that Saul is able to see again. “Something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes,” and he is resurrected from 3 days of darkness to a completely new life, moving in the opposite direction, preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles. New sight.
The scales from Saul’s eyes have the hint of fish to them. More specifically, we are reminded of Jonah travelling on his own way to Tarshish (away from God’s call), only to be swallowed by a great fish and spend 3 days in the dark depths of the sea monster’s belly. He is spit out of the 3 days of death’s darkness and into the renewed life of preaching salvation to the Gentiles of Nineveh.
3 days of darkness/death, resurrection to new life. This is the typology of our Messiah’s journey into death, the tomb, and new life in 3 days. Jesus himself alludes to his own death and resurrection by drawing from the sign of Jonah:
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish,
so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
What greater sign, what greater power is there but that of new life that springs out of death? Do you believe in real change and true transformation? We are given access to the power of transformation through the Holy Spirit every single day as we walk in faith. We have been witnesses, as people of the Way, of renewal in individual’s lives, in our own hearts, in households, in communities, and in entire cities. Oftentimes, we find ourselves stumbling blindly, hungering, and thirsting in darkness—we cannot see. We feel death has won the day. We do not hear. We are not filled. And despair blinds us.
God, in your Spirit, let the scales fall from our eyes and may we be spit up from darkness to your light. Show us a new way, a new path to travel as Christ lifts us from depravity to the Glory of your redemption. Amen.