So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength. Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!” All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?” Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. So during the night, some of the other believers lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall.
When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus. So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. He debated with some Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. When the believers heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown. The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.Acts 9:17-31
There is much I would like to comment on in this passage right from the outset but rather I will bow to the request of a number of you to give you time to notice the important things before I make comments on what needs highlighting. What we are dealing with here is a major event in the life of (S)Paul, Ananias and the church as a whole. Luke has told this story masterfully to highlight the impact of what happened and to inform us all of what went on behind the scenes. The contrast is remarkable and only serves to highlight the events leading up to Paul’s conversion. You have already been made aware that Paul’s conversion to The Way is told three times in the Book of Acts. That fact alone makes it highly significant. When something is repeated three times, you can bet its important.
Remember too the part Paul is to play in the Book of Acts and the way in which Paul is destined to become the greatest influence in the then known world related to the spread of Christianity. Remember Luke is unfolding for us both the way in which the Gospel was to spread after Acts 1:8 and to highlight the role of the leading players in this saga. Note that I have given you the segment which concludes with the next marker of one of Luke’s major sections. That is: The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers. Notice too on the other side of the break we have “Meanwhile Peter . . .”
There is much to notice in this short section but I will make no more comment and rather leave you to discover some interesting things for yourself. Remember again to look not only at the specific details of what Luke wrote but take in the big picture in order to set the details in the context of the big picture. And of course, don’t forget to ask your detailed questions in order to grapple with the text that is before us. Share your questions with me if you wish or hold them tight yourself and grapple with them yourself over a period of time. Let the details and the big picture overview sink in. Above all have fun.
We are God’s trophy and prize. Remember this when you experience difficulty because God is polishing you, his cherished prize.Lavonia Grabau
You can teach what you know, but you can only reproduce what you are!T D Jakes
The more successful you are at what God has put on your heart to do, the more opposition you will face.Rick Godwin
You have to have Strength for the Struggle! You cannot be Effective if you have lost your Assignment!T D Jakes
Death doesn’t extinguish the light; it’s only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.Anon