God’s Word of Life
Acts 9:1-25: Today’s reading introduces us to Saul, who is transformed from persecutor to apostle. He is a faithful follower of the Law of Moses and is on his way to Damascus, intending to arrest followers of “the Way of the Lord.” But Jesus appears to him and chooses him to preach the Good News.
The Conversion of Saul
(Acts 22.6-16; 26.12-18)
1In the meantime Saul kept up his violent threats of murder against the followers of the Lord. He went to the High Priest 2and asked for letters of introduction to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he should find there any followers of the Way of the Lord, he would be able to arrest them, both men and women, and bring them back to Jerusalem.
3As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, suddenly a light from the sky flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?”
5“Who are you, Lord?” he asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you persecute,” the voice said. 6“But get up and go into the city, where you will be told what you must do.”
7The men who were traveling with Saul had stopped, not saying a word; they heard the voice but could not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes, but could not see a thing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. 9For three days he was not able to see, and during that time he did not eat or drink anything.
10There was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. He had a vision, in which the Lord said to him, “Ananias!”
“Here I am, Lord,” he answered.
11The Lord said to him, “Get ready and go to Straight Street, and at the house of Judas ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying, 12and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he might see again.”
13Ananias answered, “Lord, many people have told me about this man and about all the terrible things he has done to your people in Jerusalem. 14And he has come to Damascus with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who worship you.”
15The Lord said to him, “Go, because I have chosen him to serve me, to make my name known to Gentiles and kings and to the people of Israel. 16And I myself will show him all that he must suffer for my sake.”
17So Ananias went, entered the house where Saul was, and placed his hands on him. “Brother Saul,” he said, “the Lord has sent me—Jesus himself, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He sent me so that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 At once something like fish scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he was able to see again. He stood up and was baptized; 19and after he had eaten, his strength came back.
Saul Preaches in Damascus
Saul stayed for a few days with the believers in Damascus. 20He went straight to the synagogues and began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God.
21All who heard him were amazed and asked, “Isn’t he the one who in Jerusalem was killing those who worship that man Jesus? And didn’t he come here for the very purpose of arresting those people and taking them back to the chief priests?”
22But Saul’s preaching became even more powerful, and his proofs that Jesus was the Messiah were so convincing that the Jews who lived in Damascus could not answer him.
23 After many days had gone by, the Jews met together and made plans to kill Saul, 24but he was told of their plan. Day and night they watched the city gates in order to kill him. 25But one night Saul’s followers took him and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.
Today’s Key Verse: Acts 9:20
He went straight to the synagogues and began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God.
Why was Saul going to Damascus? What did Jesus say to him? What role did Ananias play in Saul’s conversion? Why was his life in danger once he began preaching that Jesus was the Messiah? In what ways have you experienced the presence of Christ in your life?
Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Teach me to listen for and heed your voice. Help me to experience your presence anew, that I may bear witness to you and proclaim your message of love and salvation. Amen.
Acts 9:26-43: Saul arrives in Jerusalem, and Peter travels throughout Judea.