· 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.
· 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.
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
Posted on Mon, February 16, 2015
by Joel King