Read thru New Testament Devotional – June 29, 2017

June 29

 

Acts 9:1-22

Acts 9:1-2-Saul becomes all the more intent on destroying the church.  Perhaps he was angered at the way that Stephen had died.  Instead of striking fear in the hearts of other believers…it had given them courage.  He obtained letters from the high priest to go to Damascus, hunt down any Jews who were followers of Jesus, arrest them, and then bring them to Jerusalem for punishment.

 

For biographical information on Saul/Paul see:

http://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/condensed-biblical-encyclopedia/saul-of-tarsus.html

For a timeline of Paul’s life and writings see:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/paul/timeline.cfm

 

Acts 9:3-9-As Saul and those traveling with him were approaching Damascus a bright light flashed in the sky around them and he fell to the ground.  He heard a voice speak to him and when he asked who it was, the voice said it was Jesus...and accused him of persecuting Him.  The voice asks, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  Saul asks, “Who art Thou, Lord?”  And the voice responds, “I am Jesus…”  At that moment, Paul identifies the Lord (the Yahweh of the Old Testament) with Jesus.  Jesus then instructed him to go into the city and he would be told what to do.  The men with him heard the voice but did not see anyone speaking.  When Saul stood up...he was blind.  The blindness lasted for 3 days.

Acts 9:10-The Lord spoke in a vision to a follower of Jesus who lived in Damascus named Ananias.  He told him to go to the home of Judas, who lived on Straight Street, and to ask for Saul.  He told him that Paul had a vision about a man named Ananias coming to heal him.  Ananias is skeptical because he has already heard about what Saul has been doing to believers.  God tells Ananias that He has chosen Saul to be His instrument to tell the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel.  Ananias went and found Saul as he was instructed.  He laid hands on Saul, then told him what God had said...and immediately he was healed.  Then Saul "arose and was baptized".  Saul stayed with the disciples in Damascus for several days.  He immediately began to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God in the synagogue.  The Jews were totally confused.  They knew about Saul’s persecution of the followers of Jesus.  How was it possible that he would now be speaking out in behalf of Jesus, saying that He is the Christ?  His presentation (apology, defense) of Jesus was becoming more and more articulate and powerful.

Prayer: Lord, Ananias was afraid, he had heard about Saul.  But when You told him to go, he went.  Please help me to be obedient in the same manner...to not allow any excuse, or fear to keep me from doing Your will.

 

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