What does Acts 9:9 mean?
ESV: And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
NIV: For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
NASB: And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
CSB: He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink.
NLT: He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink.
KJV: And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
Verse Commentary:
Saul, the persecutor of the church (Acts 8:1–3), has met Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–8). Jesus has confronted him with his violence toward His followers, and Saul has become blind because of the great light of heaven. He is now in the house of a man named Judas in Damascus, on Straight Street (Acts 9:11), awaiting further instruction from Jesus. Possibly to clear himself of distractions, he fasts for three days. This was the typical length of time traditionally used to repent or wait for God's Word.

Undoubtedly, through this time, Saul is thinking over and repenting of his actions. He watched over the coats of the mob while they stoned Stephen (Acts 7:58). He dragged people from their homes and took them to prison (Acts 8:3). He ran people out of town. He tried to make them deny that Jesus is the Son of God, or to say something which he could use to convict them of death (Acts 26:11). He cast his vote for execution when they were convicted (Acts 26:10). And he did it all "in raging fury" (Acts 26:11).

Ananias, the follower Jesus has chosen to lead Saul to faith, is reluctant to meet the man who had come to arrest the Jewish Christians. Jesus tells him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name" (Acts 9:15–16). Saul's experiences on the mission field do somewhat mirror what he did to others. He is stoned in Lystra, although he miraculously survives (Acts 14:19–20). He is beaten and imprisoned (Acts 16:22–24). He is run out of town on numerous occasions, including from Damascus (Acts 9:23–25) and Jerusalem (Acts 9:29–30). He is accused of blasphemy (Acts 24:6). He is nearly assassinated by the Jewish council (Acts 23:12–15). Enraged Jews from Thessalonica not only form a mob in their city but, when they find out that Saul/Paul is preaching in a nearby town, they even travel to Berea to agitate crowds against him there (Acts 17:5, 13). Paul gives a list of many of the sufferings he endured in spreading the gospel in 2 Corinthians 11:23—12:10.

In these three days, Saul will likely contemplate his flawed perspective against God. He seems to quickly notice where he was wrong in his doctrine, and the message he should be preaching (Acts 9:20). However, he almost certainly does not yet suspect how he will fill "up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church" (Colossians 1:24; Acts 9:16). For now, while he sits blind, he sees that he has been horribly wrong and that he needs forgiveness from God the Father and the Son. When Ananias comes to offer that forgiveness, Saul takes it. All the passion he used to destroy Jesus' followers will now be used to multiply them.
Verse Context:
Acts 9:1–9 tells the story of how the lead persecutor of the early church meets Jesus. Saul, who had arrested the Jesus-followers in Jerusalem (Act 7:58; 8:1–3), expands his terror outside of Judea and travels north to Damascus. Jesus stops Saul and reveals He is not only alive, He is glorified by the light of heaven. Saul is stunned—and blinded. His companions lead him into the city where he waits, without food or drink, for three day until Jesus' messenger comes to tell him what to do. Saul goes into further detail in Acts 22:6–16 and 26:9–18.
Chapter Summary:
Acts 9 sets the stage for the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles. Saul continues the persecution of the church by traveling to Damascus to arrest Jesus-followers. Before he reaches the city, Jesus confronts him. Saul realizes Jesus is the Messiah and immediately starts spreading the news, first in Damascus and later in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Peter travels to modern-day Tel Aviv to heal a paralyzed man and bring a dead woman back to life. The miracles aren't unusual, but the story leaves him in Joppa, poised to take the next step in Jesus' mandate to be His witness (Acts 1:8).
Chapter Context:
The murder of the Jesus-follower Stephen has ignited a fierce persecution against the church, led by a young Pharisee-trained man named Saul (Acts 7:54—8:3; 9:1–2). When he realizes Jesus truly is the Messiah, that fervor fuels his own evangelism (Acts 9:3–30). Meanwhile, Peter travels to the coast of Judea. Soon, he will teach a prominent Gentile household about Jesus and discover that Gentiles can be saved (Acts 10). The stage will be set for Saul to spread the saving news of Jesus to ''the end of the earth'' (Acts 1:8) under the Greek version of his name: Paul.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
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