The people around also heard something that sounded like a voice. It all took place very publicly.
But it was also a very private encounter. Nobody but Saul saw Jesus. Only Saul heard His voice and understood His message. And only Saul received the gift of blindness.
Yes, I said the gift of blindness. You see, Saul had a great deal to think about. Jesus said that Saul was persecuting Him, and that soon Saul would be His witness to the gentiles.
What would you do if you suddenly learned that all you were doing in God's name was worthless? In fact, what if you discovered that what you were doing was completely against God's plan?
Saul thought he was in the center of God's will. As a devout Jew, he was attacking those who threatened his religious way of life. Then Jesus stopped him in his tracks. And nothing would ever be the same again.
Saul had three days with no distractions. He couldn't see. He was in the house of a stranger. So he spent his time wisely. He prayed. And he fasted. In three days, Saul came to terms with the fact that he was God's messenger to the gentiles in the name of Jesus.
The persecutor became the preacher. Instead of trying to stop the movement created by Jesus, he became the first missionary for Jesus.
Saul used a time of darkness wisely to seek the will of God. He fasted and prayed for three days. When you are in a dark time, keep seeking. Jesus is there in your darkness. He promised to never leave you, never forsake you. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you.
When Ananias came, Saul was ready to follow Jesus. He immediately ate and was baptized. As a Jew, he would understand baptism as an act of obedience. Gentiles were baptized to become Jews. Saul followed the example of Jesus, identifying with Him. Saul chose to proclaim his new-found faith in Jesus.
It's okay to be in darkness. God meets us there. But there is also a time for action. When God calls you out of the darkness, eat. Gain strength. And follow Him.