Jesus’ Life: Chapter 20 – Early Spread Of Gospel By the Disciples
Paul’s persecution of Christians continued after Stephen’s killing, driven by his malice and rage.
Not content with persecuting them in Jerusalem, he went to the high priest of the Sanhedrin, Annas or Caiaphas, and sought letters subjecting all synagogues in Damascus to allow him to arrest and transport to Jerusalem for trial, all who believed Jesus was the Messiah.
To fulfil his ongoing oppressive anti-Christian mission, Paul then journeyed the same road to Damascus that Jesus and his disciples had used many times during their ministry. His intention was one of Christian elimination.
However, as he approaching the city at midday, without warning a blinding–light shone around him forcing him to his knees. Then a voice called out saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4; 22:6; 26:13) (Note: Saul is Hebrew for Paul.)
A trembling Paul answered, “Who are you, Lord?” The voice replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting! But stand up and enter the city and you will be told what you must do”. (Acts 9:5-6)
The accompanying men travelling with Paul were also overwhelmed. They had observed the same light and were forced to the ground, (Acts 22:9; 26:14) however, they were not blinded but they “did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking”. (Acts 22:9)
As Paul, unable to see, struggled to his feet, his travel companions helped him and took him into the city of Damascus.
Paul remained in Damascus for the next three days, in total shock, blind and neither eating or drinking.
Now in Damascus the Lord appeared to the disciple Ananias and told him to “get up” and go to the house where Paul was staying.
Ananias did as the Lord asked and on finding Paul, he placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit”. (Acts 9:11, 17)
At that moment, Paul regained his sight and looking upwards he saw Jesus who said, “The God of our ancestors has already chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear a command from his mouth, because you will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name”. (Acts 22:14-16) Paul later commented, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”. (Galatians 2:20).
Paul was baptised and remained “for several days” in Damascus where he immediately began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues saying, “This man [Jesus] is the Son of God”. (Acts 9:20)
Although amazed at Paul’s teachings, the people asked, “Is this not the man who in Jerusalem was ravaging those who call on the [name of Jesus], and who had come here to bring them as prisoners to the chief priests?” (Acts 9:21) (Acts 9:1-22)
Although Paul had physically lost his sight, he received from the Holy Spirit a very clear view of his past actions and sins!
How is my spiritual sight?
Lord Jesus, open my eyes to your great power and increase my spiritual strength as I do your daily work. Amen.
Prayer: Poor – Daily Service
Make us worthy, Lord,
to serve our brothers and sisters throughout the world,
who live and die in poverty and hunger.
Give them, through our hands,
this day their daily bread,
and by our understanding love,
give them peace and joy.
Make us, Lord,
worthy to serve our brothers and sisters,
scattered all over the world,
who live and die alone and poor.
Give them today, using our hands, their daily bread.
And, using our love, give them peace and happiness. Amen.