Acts 9 -- 10
Saul was a sincere Pharisee, a zealot who believed he was being loyal to God. Consequently, he was determined to stamp out the followers of Jesus, whom He considered heretics who should be put to death. With this conviction, Saul obtained a court order to go about 150 miles to Damascus in Syria to arrest Christians who had fled Jerusalem, so that if he found any of this Way (followers of Jesus as the Christ), whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound (with chains) to Jerusalem (Acts 9:2), where they could be tried for heresy.
Armed with a warrant and men to take charge of his prisoners, Saul immediately began his mission; but, as he neared Damascus, suddenly there shined round about him a Light from Heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a Voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? And he said, who are You, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting (9:3-5).
When someone persecutes a Christian, Jesus Christ not only knows about it, but hurts just as we do, as evidenced by His words here. He is moved with the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15).
At that time, the Lord spoke to Ananias, a disciple of Christ who lived in Damascus, saying to him: Inquire in the house of Judas for one man called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he is praying (Acts 9:11).
Ananias had heard by many of this man, how much evil he (Saul) had done to the saints at Jerusalem. . . . But the Lord said . . . Go . . . for he is a chosen vessel . . . to bear My Name before the Gentiles . . . For I will show him how great things he must suffer for My Name's sake. And Ananias went . . . and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus . . . has sent me, that you might receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. . . . and he (Paul) received sight forthwith, and he arose, and was baptized (9:13-18).
A similar event took place in the home of Cornelius, the Roman Centurion in charge of one hundred soldiers. He was deeply respected by the Jews, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision . . . an angel of God . . . saying. . . . send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter .
Peter also had a vision that caused him to realize that God is no respecter of persons. The next day he returned with them to the home of Cornelius and told them about Jesus: He is Lord. Peter said: To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the Word. Following their being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter said: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the Name of the Lord (Acts 10:1-5,34-36,43-44,47-48).
Government Officials: Rep. Ernest Fletcher (KY) and Sen. Jack Reed (RI) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WEMC-FM, Harrisonburg, VA · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Mrs. Robert Miller · Country: Italy (58 million) in southern Europe · Major languages: Italian and German · Religious freedom · 81% Roman Catholic; .4% Protestant; .1% Eastern Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His redeeming love (Revelation 5:9).
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