Acts 13:8-12 – Symbolic Blindness


Reading Acts

Barnabas and Saul arrive at Paphos they are challenged by a “sorcerer and false prophet” named Bar-Jesus, or Bar-Joshua. Bar-Jesus was a counselor for Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul on Cyprus. Thus Bar-Jesus was a very powerful man in the government His name means “son of the Savior,” but he is also known as Elymas, meaning “Wise” in Arabic.

Raphael The_Conversion_of_the_Proconsul_(1515) Sergius Paulus wishes to meet with Saul, but Bar-Jesus opposes this meeting. Paul is described as “full of the Spirit” as he condemns Bar-Jesus. Paul accuses him of trickery and deceit, and perverting the ways of the Lord. Paul then blinds the man, and he had to be led away. This is in itself a rather unique event in the New Testament, but the miracle is also a symbolic act.  There are a number of miracles in the New Testament which are more or less “prophetic acts.” Jesus heals a blind…

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