Acts 9:1-19 — Saul on the Road to Damascus
Acts 9:20-43 — Saul’s Message, Saul in Jerusalem, Dorcas Restored to Life
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One Reply to “Aug 27 — Acts 9”
Saul, the one who approved of Stephen’s death by stoning (Acts 8:1) “was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” (Acts 9:1). He intends to do his duty and imprison men or women who belonged to the Way (9:2)–whatever it takes to erase this group from the history books! But Jesus has a different plan. He appears to Saul on the road to Damascus (9:17) and the course of history is completely changed. “At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God” (9:20). The same synagogues for which he asked for letters of reference to route the disciples (9:2).
“Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah” (9:22). Still, there was great confusion among the believers (as one would expect). Here’s the guy commissioned to get rid of Christians (The Way), but he’s suddenly preaching Jesus. Is this just a ploy?
After three years, he heads to Jerusalem (some 150 miles away) and tried to join the disciples, but they were afraid. It took Barnabas to stand in the gap (as Pastor DeJesus would say) and make the connection (like any good Connections Pastor): “But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles…told them how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus” (9:27). More details are revealed in Galatians 1:11-24: Saul (Paul), “went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem.” It appears that Saul met Peter and James (brother of Jesus, now a strong believer). The exciting thing is this: “the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers” (Acts 9:31).
The remaining portion of Acts 9 (vv 32-43) documents miracles through Peter and ends with a simple note: “Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon” (9:43). I’ve skipped over this verse before, but today, I stopped and read the NIV Study Bible note: “in this case it is especially significant. A tanner was involved in treating the skins of dead animals, thus contacting the unclean according to Jewish law, so Simon was despised by many.” Peter continues to separate himself from what is acceptable to do that which is significant.
Lord I pray that I will hear your call and do what you say even when it’s not popular, not easy or even unclear.