Acts 9

Author

Joel King

Scripture

Acts 9:1-43

Observation

· As the Christians leave Jerusalem, Saul is so motivated to bring them to “justice” that he gets the high priest to allow him to travel to Damascus with the authority to round up Christians and drag them back to jail in Jerusalem.
· On his way to Jerusalem Paul encounters a light from above that only he can see.
· There was a voice, that everyone heard, that asked Saul while he is persecuting him. (Meaning Jesus takes the persecution of the saints, personally)
· Saul recognizes that the voice has authority but is not sure of the identity
· The voice identifies himself as Jesus, and gives Saul instructions to complete his trip to Damascus and wait for instructions
· Saul had closed his eyes because the light was so bright, and when he opened them he found he was blind
· His companions, who were present to help him round up Christians, led him to Damascus
· For three days Saul waited, not eating or drinking
· The Lord then visited Ananias, and asked him to place hands on Saul from Tarsus so that he might see.
· Jesus’ directions were very specific
· Saul’s reputation and mission preceded him, and was familiar to Ananias who was scared of him
· The Lord said go and Ananias went
· Jesus said that Saul was the chosen instrument specifically to the Gentiles, their leaders, as well as the Jews
· He also said that Saul would have to suffer much for the name of Jesus (Much like the suffering Saul had already caused so many Christians)
· Ananias told Saul that he not only was there so he would receive sight but also so that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit.
· At that moment he could see
· Saul responded by being baptized and eating some food to regain his strength
· He then spent several days learning from and fellowshipping with the Christians in Damascus
· Then he started preaching, specifically that Jesus is the Messiah. (Saul did start preaching just a few days after his conversion, but it is noteworthy that he was already familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures and really only lacked the information about Jesus as the Messiah).
· Saul was effective and caused many people to wonder because of the contrast from his reputation as a Christian persecutor
· He was so effective that the saints had to sneak him out of the city to thwart a plot to kill him
· His reputation in Jerusalem was such that even the disciples would not meet with him
· Barnabas was the brave one who met with Saul, heard his story, and then took him to the apostles
· Saul argued with the same Grecian Jews that had instigated Stephen’s killing, they were frustrated and decided to kill Saul too, but he escaped to Tarsus (his hometown).
· With Saul’s absence the church at that time experienced a time of peace and it grew
· Peter traveled in and around Jerusalem at least as far as Lydda (about 32 miles away)
· Peter heals a paralytic and many saw the man and turned to Jesus
· A follower of Jesus who was known for doing good and helping the poor died.
· Peter was asked to help but she was already dead when he arrived.
· Peter did the same that he had seen Jesus do and asked everyone to leave the room and then prayed and God raised her from the dead
· Many people heard about this around Joppa and came to believe in Jesus.

Application

· No one is too far gone for Jesus to change their heart and life
· Jesus often calls his followers to share with those who seem diabolically opposed to the good news and to Christians
· Many will oppose the good news, often out of jealousy
· The main purpose of miracles don’t seem to be just to benefit the person but more importantly to advance the gospel
· I need to pray for more miracles that advance the good news rather than my personal benefit.

Prayer

Jesus,
   Thank you for meeting me where I was at and bringing me unto yourself. Thank you for taking the scales off the eyes of my heart so that I might see you. Please let me part of your work in others by sharing the good news in the power of your Holy Spirit that many might come to believe. Help me share boldly even though I might meet opposition. And Jesus would you do a mighty miracle at Trinity Church that will result in many coming to know and follow you. AMEN

5 comments (Add your own)

1. Jim Asselin wrote:
How many Sauls have I overlooked because of a preconception that they would be offended at the Gospel, or that I would lose respect in the eyes of the recipient. If the six degrees of separation theory holds true, how many countless others with life transformation have I prevented from knowing God by not obeying, trusting, having faith that God does the transforming, not me.......God, make me Your servant today with sufficient faith in what You can accomplish.

Mon, February 16, 2015 @ 7:13 AM

2. Bob Relyea wrote:
I saw a couple of things:

1) Jesus really did mean we would do what he did. Here we have disciples healing the blind, the sick and raising the dead. It got me thinking about what things did Jesus do that he hasn't empowered us to do? The obvious big one was resurrection, but Jesus promised that in the end we will all be resurrected. Do we really act in the authority Jesus gives us?

2) God doesn't automatically ask us to stay in dangerous situations. On two separate incidences Paul's life was in danger if he kept preaching. In both cases he fled the situation under council of his brothers. (looking ahead, contrast this to Paul's final trip to Jerusalem. Sometimes God does tell us to go or stay in a dangerous situation. The trick is discerning what God wants us to do). The point is we can't just say "that path is harder, so that's the one God wants us take" or "that path is easier, so God wants us to do that".

bob

Mon, February 16, 2015 @ 8:17 AM

3. Rob Schulze wrote:
I'm someone who needs to read Scripture slowly and intentionally think about what I'm reading less my mind quickly wanders. SOAP's such a helpful way for me to do this. I'm seeing things in ACTS that I've never reflected on before. Typically I read until the "action" or "a story" or what I perceive as the main point, but in Acts 5:17, 6:7, 8:1-3 & Acts 9:1-2, Luke's brief "overviews" before telling a story provide so much context and "big picture" of what's happening with this new Jesus movement called the Way.

Today I know of The Church almost 2000 years after the writing of the New Testament and can easily perceive that the believers in Acts 2-9 have broken free from "Judaism" and started the Church as I perceive it or as the "emergent church" the past 15 years has encouraged us-- to go back and do church much like the early church. Yet at this point in the Book of Acts the believers are still mostly functioning within the Jewish system of temple worship, gathering in synagogues and being very Jewish. Therefore...

Acts 5:17 - Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy.

Acts 6:7 - So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Acts 8:1-3 - On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

Acts 9:1-2 - Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

My "aha" this morning is that the persecution we see throughout the Book of Acts comes from both Jewish religious leaders and King Herod not because the believers had broken away from Judaism and were starting a new religion from scratch but that this "Nazarene Sect" (as the Jewish leaders call them in Acts 24:5) was creating a renewal movement within Judea called the Way. Therefore, Saul's "hell-bent" on arresting and stopping this sect before more priests and Jews joined their ranks. Yet their persecution as is often the case, only sends the believers to synagogues throughout Judea and Samaria to continue their witness that Jesus is the Messiah... the Way, The Truth and the Life.

"Lord, use me as your witness today wherever you take"

Mon, February 16, 2015 @ 8:37 AM

4. Rob Schulze wrote:
Interesting...

John the Baptist had disciples, the Pharisees had disciples and of course Jesus had his various disciples but if I'm reading Acts 9:25 correctly... Luke records that Paul had a group of disciples (students) from his ministry in Damascus...

"They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket."

Tue, February 17, 2015 @ 5:38 AM

5. Jan Ramirez wrote:
The part that spoke to me was regarding Ananias...
Throughout the land, word had spread regarding Saul and his "murderous threats".
Ananias was a disciple, a follower of Jesus, yet, when Jesus told him to go meet with Saul, he was afraid of what Saul might do to him.
Jesus even told him, "In a vision he (Saul) has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight", but Ananias was fearful.

Lord, if you tell me, "Go", I pray I won't hesitate in fear, but trust you unconditionally.
Help me to see one's heart, one's potential in You, and not judge them for their character on the outside.
Amen.

Wed, February 18, 2015 @ 9:50 AM

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