Acts 9

Chapter nine begins with “MEANWHILE,” an ominous segue pitting God’s great work through Philip with Satan’s work through Saul. That was about to change. Securing warrants for all Jewish believers found in and around synagogues (their jurisdiction), Saul traveled to Damascus, more than 150 miles north of Jerusalem, to arrest these Jews who had turned to worship Jesus (Acts 9:1-9). On the way, Jesus himself stopped Saul, and Saul was converted as well. However, the encounter blinded him, so he spent three days fasting and praying in darkness.

One of the disciples in Damascus Paul certainly would have arrested was Ananias. In a vision, God told him to go to Saul and lay hands on him so he could see again (Acts 9:10-12). Naturally, Ananias was reluctant, but God told him that Saul was God’s man now, the one who would present the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9:13-16). Ananias obeyed. Saul regained his sight and immediately began preaching Christ, which caused him to have to run for his life (Acts 9:17-25). Paul included more detail in Galatians 1-2 than Luke does here, but eventually Saul made it back to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles, with Barnabas vouching for him (Acts 9:26-30).

During this time Peter also did some itinerant preaching, performing miracles as Jesus did, including healing a paralyzed man and raising a woman from the dead (Acts 9:32-43). This solidified the focus of the two men – Peter to the Jews and Paul to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7-9).

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Daniel Goepfrich

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