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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.
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