November 12

Read Acts 9

In Today's Reading:

Conversion of Saul; Dorcas raised from the dead; visions of Peter and Cornelius; Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit

Saul of Tarsus was a sincere Pharisee, zealously determined to stamp out the followers of Jesus whom he considered religious blasphemers worthy of the death penalty. So he obtained letters from the high priest to go about 135 miles to Damascus in Syria to arrest Christians who had fled from Jerusalem He requested that if he found any of this Way (followers of Jesus), whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem (Acts 9:2) where they could be tried for heresy and then put to death.

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 persecutest thou Me? And he said, Who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest (9:3-5).

Three days later, the Lord spoke to Ananias, a disciple of Christ who lived in Damascus, saying to him: Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire . . . for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias (9:11-12).

Ananias replied to the Lord: I have heard . . . of . . . how much evil he hath done to Thy saints (followers) at Jerusalem. . . . But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My Name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great (many) things he must suffer for My Name's sake. And Ananias . . . entered into the house; and 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 Spirit. . . . and he (Paul) received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized (9:13-18).

At about the same time, Peter also had a vision which caused him to realize that God is no respecter of persons (10:34). Speaking to Gentiles at the home of Cornelius, Peter declared: To Him (Jesus) give all the prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission (forgiveness) of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the Word (10:43-44) After they were filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter asked: 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 (10:47-48). By one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body (I Corinthians 12:13,27).

Word Studies:

10:1 centurion = a captain of an Italian troop; 10:3 ninth hour = 3 p.m, the usual hour of evening worship among the Jews.

Cross References:

For Acts 10:14: See Leviticus 11:4; 20:25; Deuteronomy 14:3,7. Acts 10:34 See Deuteronomy 10:17. Acts 10:38: See Isiah 61:1-3.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Government Officials: Gov. Ernest Fletcher (KY), Secretary Norman Mineta (Department of Transportation), Sen. Jack Reed (RI), and Rep. Diane Watson (CA) · Country: Uganda (23 million) in eastern Africa · Major languages: English and Luganda · Religious freedom · 51% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 10% animist; 7% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to show you any sins that you are not aware of and to cleanse you of them (Psalm 19:12).

Memory Verse for the Week: James 1:22