Oh I just love the Book of Acts so much! It stirs my soul to act and to share!
Every time I read Acts Chapter 9 I like to try to place myself in Saul’s shoes. Reading it this time, I was so blessed to be able to discuss Saul’s conversion with my sweet hubby, Ron. The excitement was thick in the air as the Holy Spirit moved and we talked about how Jesus spoke to Saul and what Saul must have experienced and what thoughts must have went through his mind when Jesus spoke to him and chose him to do His work in the early church. We shared how we would think and react if it were us.
SIDE NOTE: Let me tell you ladies, if you and your soul mate are not sharing time together in God’s Word, you are truly missing out on one of God’s greatest blessings! As we grow together in our walk with our Saviour, it not only draws us closer to our Lord, but closer to each other in our marriage relationship as well. After Jesus, my Honey Bunny is my very best friend. There is nothing like it on this earth! But isn’t that what God’s Word says it should be – Genesis 2:22-24 “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, (and dare I say, his family? Are we to abandon our families? Of course not, but the husband and wife are now one, and each will definitely and rightfully take precedence over the rest of the family.) and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” And in Ephesians 5:31 “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” Sometimes we women think we need other women, we like to call our besties, to talk to who ‘understand’ when we need to vent or rant and won’t judge us. I have learned the truth to be that more times than not, that is an excuse for women to meet and gossip and say hurtful things about others behind their backs, and justify it by saying we just need to vent. When we have aught against another, we are to take it to that person or leave it up to the Lord, whichever He leads us to do. If we are blessed to be married to a man who is a truly Godly man, he will call us on our back-biting and offer to pray with us for God’s direction in the matter, and support us in doing the right thing. And, of course, it does go both ways.
Okay, so I must needs get back to the point at hand. 😉 I just had to share what God is teaching me in this matter, and what a blessing God gives us when we place our husbands at the head of our homes as God intends and allow His Holy Spirit to mingle in both our spirits together.
So, in Acts Chapters 6-8, we read how Stephen, filled with the Holy Ghost preached truth to the religious leaders and he became the first disciple to die for the cause of Christ. Saul first shows up in Acts Chapter 8:1 tells us that “And Saul consenting unto his death…” What a truly powerful testimony Saul/Paul had to lead lost souls to Christ! And each one of us who has been saved from hell by the sacrifice Jesus gave on the cross has a testimony to do the same. Telling others what Jesus has done for us is the best way to win souls to the Saviour!
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.(Saul was highly educated – Acts 22:3 “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” He became what they called a Zealot who persecuted Jesus’ church/followers. He was deceived by the jealous religious leaders about who Jesus and His followers really were, and he believed that he was doing God’s work and was zealously devoted to it.)
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: (Can you even imagine!)
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? (WOW! The thoughts that Saul must have had! Here he and his soldiers are marching along on their mission to round up any of Jesus’ followers whom he considered dissenters stirring up trouble. Suddenly, a bright light and the voice of the Lord Jesus confronts him. Was it the power of Jesus’ voice that threw him to the ground or the sense that this was a divine presence from God? Maybe both.)
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? (Saul called Him Lord. He must have thought, “This is surely the one and only Supreme God of Heaven!”) And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. (As soon as Saul realized that what he had been doing was against God’s will, he asked what the Lord wanted him to do.)
7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. (God had literally blinded Saul perhaps as an awakening to how the religious leaders had blinded him to the truth. I am sure by now, Saul is considering how he had been so deceived all of his life.)
9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. (He most probably had so much remorse about having wrongly persecuted and killed so many of God’s children. I would find it unbearable.)
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. (What a merciful God we serve!)
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. (Everyone knew who Saul was and how he was zealous to persecute Jesus’ followers even to death. I am sure any one of us would have been pretty scared too, “But Lord, you know how this man’s goal in life is to persecute and kill your people. If I show myself to him, won’t he take me in too for beating and prison, maybe even death?)
15 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: (God had sent Jesus to his chosen people, the Jews first, but they rejected and crucified Him. Now He chose one Saul to go to the Gentiles and teach and preach what Jesus came and did for the whole world. God knew that once Saul knew the truth, he would be just as dedicated and devoted to God’s true work as he was to what he wrongly thought was God’s work.)
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (And maybe there would be times that Saul would think on what he would face for the rest of his life as part of the consequences for how he had wrongly persecuted God’s church. Who knows, just a rambling thought. But we know that God’s enemy is the ruler of this world and all those who live as this world are God’s enemies as well, and will persecute God’s chosen ones.)
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. (I am sure Saul had to have some alone time with God’s Holy Spirit and close disciples to help him in turning his thinking around.)
20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. (He wasted no time in sharing the Good News of Jesus and what He had done in his life. What a testimony Saul had!)
21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: (Oh, but of course they would do that! Jesus’ teachings were a threat to their power.)
24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. (I am sure God revealed their plans to Saul and the disciples.)
25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.
26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. (The apostles were the 12 who were closest to Jesus when He was here. There were many disciples who followed Him and taught others who He was.)
28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. (The world hated Saul just as it did Jesus.)
30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. (Praise God! Saul was no longer seeking to lock them up and kill them!)