Highlights In Today's Reading:
A zealous man on an evil mission — to destroy the Lord's followers (9:1-2). When God calls, never underestimate His power to change even the vilest heart (9:3-18). The Church strengthened (9:19-31). Miraculous healings; many believe (9:32-42). The Lord clearly relates that Christ also died for the Gentiles (chap. 10).
Saul of Tarsus was a Jew and a Roman citizen by birth (Acts 16:37-38; 22:25-29). A devout Pharisee (26:4-5), he was determined to stamp out them which called on this Name (Jesus) in Jerusalem (9:21), seeing them as heretics deserving death. He was appointed by the high priest to go to Damascus looking for Christians who had fled Jerusalem, that . . . whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem (9:2). As Saul neared Damascus, suddenly there was an awesome bright light. Christ, the Light of the World (John 8:12; 9:5), confronted him with a powerful voice from Heaven: Saul, Saul . . . I am Jesus whom thou persecutest (Acts 9:4-5). When someone harms a Christian, Jesus Christ feels it (Matt. 25:35-40). He is moved with the feeling of our infirmities (Heb. 4:15).
Blinded, Saul was led into the city. Ananias, a faithful disciple of Christ in Damascus, also heard the voice of the Lord saying: Inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth (Acts 9:11). Saul, no doubt, had "prayed" many times. But he had not known Jesus as Savior, and the only Mediator between God and men (I Tim. 2:5).
Ananias, putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus . . . hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost (Spirit). And . . . he received sight . . . and was baptized (Acts 9:13, 17-18). Elsewhere, Peter, preaching in the home of Cornelius, a Gentile, said: To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins. . . .the Holy Ghost (Spirit) fell on all them which heard the Word (10:43-44). And Peter said: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we (Jews)? And he commanded them to be baptized in the Name of the Lord (10:47-48).
After his conversion, Saul was convinced that all must accept Jesus as Savior. Each of us chooses what is most important to us — living to achieve personal goals or living to serve Jesus. Can we say with Paul: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me (Gal. 2:20)?
Thought for Today:
He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (I John 2:17).
10:1 centurion =b> a captain of an Italian troop of 100 men; 10:3 ninth hour =b> 3 p.m, the usual hour of evening worship among the Jews.
For Acts 10:14: See Lev. 11:4; 20:25; Deut. 14:3,7. Acts 10:34 See Deut. 10:17. Acts 10:38: See Is. 61:1-3.
Pray for International Broadcasts in memory of Iva Ann McElroy • Staff: George Kopchak • Government Officials: Gov. Ernie Fletcher (KY), Sen. Jack Reed (RI), and Rep. Diane Watson (CA) • Country: Lebanon (4.3 million) in the Middle East • Major languages: Arabic and French • Limited religious freedom • 55% Muslim (Shi'a, Sunni); 41% Christian (Maronite, Orthodox, Melchite, Protestant, Chaldean, Assyrian, Syriac); 3% Druze; 1% Others (Jewish, Baha'i, Alawi, Jehovah's Witness) • Prayer Suggestion: Bless the Lord for your redemption (Ps. 103:4).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 16:25