Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
I can think of multiple possible purposes for Saul's blindness: 1) as a deterrent to Saul carrying out his original intent of arresting Christians in Damascus and bringing them to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1-2); 2) as a demonstration of Jesus' power and authority; 3) to provide a three-day (Acts 9:9) opportunity or interval of helplessness to Saul during which he would be unable to do anything other than to reflect on what had happened; to pray (Acts 9:11); and to re-order his thinking on who Jesus was, and what the implications of that new awareness would be for his future conduct (which he immediately demonstrated after receiving his sight by going to the synagogues in Damascus and proving that Jesus was the Messiah)(Acts 9:20); 4) to have God's involvement in the situation further reinforced and emphasized to him by experiencing a vision of Ananias coming to him to restore his sight (Acts 9:12), and also by Ananias' knowledge of Jesus having appeared to him, and by Ananias' stated purpose of having come so that Saul might be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17); 5) to give him an opportunity to experience firsthand (through the recovery of his sight) the love, mercy, and forgiveness of Christ and of Christians toward him, despite his history as a persecutor of the church; and to provide him with a consequent sense of humility (1 Corinthians 15:9) that increased his usefulness to God.
So that he could see! Remember Saul/Paul was spiritually blind as evidenced by his persecution of Christians. Something dramatic was needed to get his attention. Paul had plenty of time to think about what he had experienced. During the time he was blind, he couldn't help but see Jesus was more than just a man or even that he had just had a vision. His (Spiritual) eyes were opened long before he reached Damascus. And not only him, but all of us as well through his writings and ministry. You could even say, He was blinded so we could see!
I believe Saul was immediately converted when Jesus blinded him and asked him why he was being persecuted. God overran Saul with his love and holy spirit. It is ordinarily not possible for a human being to change their behavior 180 degrees in an instant, and it is clearly evident that Saul become Paul by supernatural power. It is further proof of Jesus's resurrection and look what Paul did the rest of his life in building the church. Anyone who has experienced an immediate and dramatic conversion to Christ can identify with what happened on the Road to Damascus.
I think the answers about spiritual blindness while having physical sight is true of all humans before given God's Grace of Enlightenment in order to see the truth of God's Word and know the True Logos, Jesus. Saul, meaning "asked for or prayed for," became Paul as Acts 13 starts him being called this name, it means, "small." So Saul became humbled and obedient to the Lord Jesus after his encounter with the light-giver. One more thing about his physical eyesight: It doesn't seem it ever was the same, for 2 Corinthians 12:7, he states about not being exalted, also in Galatians 6:11, he talks about having to write in large letters and signings with his own handwriting. Romans 16:22, talks about Tertius helping Paul. Paul was seemingly superior in education and prominence, but God's Grace was sufficient when he was knocked down humanely, and found Salvation on his knees. When our Spiritual eyes are opened to God's Truth He then will allow much Light to be spread, regardless of our physical assets.
Looking directly into a bright light can damage the human eye; staring into the sun or a powerful light like a laser can burn a hole in it, or cause permanent retinal damage. This is probably the reason he lost his sight. Other scriptures allude to a more permanent affliction with his eyes that made fellow saints wish they could give them their own eyes: Gal.4 :15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. (KJV) The reason given by Paul was to keep him humble, (he was told, "My strength is sufficient for thee") maybe to keep him dependent on God because of his part and contribution in the New Testament. The scripture states he received sight, yet did not specifically state he was healed or made whole. Acts 9:18] And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. I will augment the excellent answers above with these thoughts: This particular incident has been a point of controversy for scoffers in that in later accounts it states witnesses saw a light but heard no voice. Atheists and scoffers will say this account is ridiculous, made up. Yet in 1880 Alexander Graham Bell, building on a discovery of a British scientist named Willoughby Smith, invented the photophone, a device that transmitted sound through a beam of light, that did not find a place in use until the invention of fiber optics because interference in the beam of light distorted information. But this proved Saul’s encounter to be scientifically possible. It also explains why those outside of the light saw a light but heard no voice. In science this is known as the photovoltaic effect. (Hochfelder, 2018) I hope this answers your question. Maranatha Hochfelder, D. (2018, February, 28). Alexander Graham Bell American Inventor. Retrieved from www.britannica.com/biography/Alexander-Graham-Bell
Imagine being a very zealous follower of Judaism. Paul was favored by the Pharisees, who saw him to be a very great leader. Paul was not going against Christians; rather he was defending his faith. What he could not understand was Jews leaving Judaism. This was his problem. Jesus did not blind him because he was a rebel. He was not, and rather a faithful and ardent believer of his faith. The type of faith Paul had is difficult to find in today’s church from the pulpit to the pew. God found this man, who was totally committed, to be the best man to use for his glory. The lord knew if Paul was spoken to...He would not avail, the best way to gets his attention was to use godly power for a godly purpose. To all readers, our Lord was not wrong, because when you follow the testimony of this apostle you find the same commitment he had before, prepared to give his life for the cause of Christ. In Roman’s 1:1....he makes it clear, he is a servant of the Lord: purchased, does not belong to himself, he belongs to another, separated for a divine course..... May I also say...I believe it is totally wrong for individuals to wait, or claim, or desire to be struck like Paul.....Paul’s testimony is totally different.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.