Tag: Acts 8-9

Saul’s life-changing encounter!

Scripture reading for November 8th: Acts 8-9

In today’s reading we have the account of the conversion of one of the most influential people in the early days of the church.  The first 11 chapters of Acts are primarily centered around the life of Peter and his ministry to the Jews around Jerusalem.  Chapter 9 gives the account of Saul, a zealous Pharisee, who was a persecutor of the early church and was bent on protecting Judaism and eliminating disciples of Jesus.  He is spoken of first as one who gave approval of those who stoned Stephen. (Acts 8:1)  An encounter with Jesus is what Saul needed to radically change his world-view!

“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.  He went to the high priest and asked for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.  As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, Why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.  So get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:1-6

Saul had been hunting down disciples and as he traveled on a mission to Damascus, the Lord met him personally.  The light of glory threw Saul to the ground and blinded him.  Jesus asked him a simple question.  The question reveals that when anyone persecutes one of Jesus’ followers, He feels it personally!  Saul was also addressed by first name.  Jesus knows each person by name and knows where they are and what they are doing.

Thankfully, Saul repented during the period of blindness that lasted three days.  God sent a disciple named Ananias to lay hands on Saul to receive his sight back.  Ananias was initially afraid of Saul because of his reputation, but God revealed that Saul was His chosen instrument to reach the Gentiles.  (Acts 9:15-16) After he was healed and baptized, Saul began to preach the Gospel in the very synagogues that he had come initially to hunt Christians in!  What a difference an encounter with Jesus makes!

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Saul’s “Jesus encounter”

Scripture reading for November 7th: Acts 8-9

The first 11 chapters of Acts are centered around the life of Peter and his ministry to the Jews around Jerusalem.   But chapter 9 gives the account of Saul, a zealous Pharisee, who was a persecutor of the early church and bent on protecting Judaism and eliminating disciples of Jesus.  He was described as one who gave approval of those who stoned Stephen. (Acts 8:1) Saul had not yet met Jesus!

“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.  He went to the high priest and asked for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.  As he neared Damascus, on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, Why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.  So get up and go into the city and you will be told what you what you must do.” Acts 9:1-6

Saul had been hunting down disciples, having them arrested and in some cases put to death.  As he traveled on a mission to Damascus, the Lord met him personally.  The light of glory threw Saul to the ground and blinded him.  Jesus asked him a simple question that  revealed when anyone persecuted one of Jesus’ followers, He felt it personally!  Jesus knew each person by name and addressed Saul personally.

Thankfully, Saul repented, was healed and baptized.  God sent a disciple named Ananias to lay hands on Saul to receive his sight back.  Ananias was initially afraid of Saul because of his reputation, but God revealed that Saul was His chosen instrument to reach the Gentiles.  (Acts 9:15-16) Saul began to preach the Gospel in the very synagogues that he had come to hunt Christians in!  What a difference an encounter with Jesus makes!

Saul became the Apostle Paul who would be a great missionary to the Gentiles and write 13 New Testament books.  His “Jesus encounter” is still being talked and written about over 1900 years later!  Many other “sinners” have found Christ through his testimony!   You can have a personal encounter too!  Ask and you will receive!

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Philip’s Powerful Preaching!

Scripture reading for November 9th: Acts 8-9

“Those who had been scattered preached the Word wherever they went.  Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.  When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.  With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed.  So there was great joy in that city.” (Acts 8:4-8)

Persecution, led by Saul (Paul) was hard on the early church.  Many of the leaders of the church were forced to leave Jerusalem and scatter to all the other cities in the region to avoid imprisonment and possible death.  Samaritans were considered by the Jews to be outcasts because they were of mixed race. Philip, one of the first deacons, felt directed to go to Samaria.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Philip began to preach the message of Christ and pray for those who were sick, crippled and bound by evil spirits.  As the Lord had promised, healings and miracles began to occur and drew crowds.  Demons came out and people watched and listened to the message of Jesus.  Great joy was in the city because of the Good News of Christ!  A revival took place from the simple preaching of a follower of Jesus being obedient as he entered this idolatrous and bound culture.  God was at work in the midst of the persecution!

A powerful sorcerer named Simon was among those who heard the message Philip preached.   Simon, along with many others believed the message and was baptized.  He followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the many miracles.  Peter and John came from Jerusalem to see these Samaritans who had believed and laid hands on them and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit.  They were evidently baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.  Simon watched and offered money to get what they had!  The Apostles sternly rebuked him, and Simon asked for prayer.  They continued preaching in other Samaritan cities and the Word spread!

Simple believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed Christ.  Christ worked with them, confirming their message with signs and wonders.  Crowds were drawn, people heard the Word and believed and joy filled the city!  People were baptized and delivered.  More were filled with the Holy Spirit and sent out to reach others!  Let’s do it!

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Saul’s “Jesus Encounter”

Scripture reading for November 9th: Acts 8-9

In today’s reading we have the account of the conversion of one of the most influential people in the early days of the church.  The first 11 chapters of Acts are primarily centered around the life of Peter and his ministry to the Jews around Jerusalem.  Chapter 9 gives the account of Saul, a zealous Pharisee, who was a persecutor of the early church and was bent on protecting Judaism and eliminating disciples of Jesus.  He is spoken of first as one who gave approval of those who stoned Stephen. (Acts 8:1)  An encounter with Jesus is what Saul needed to radically change his world-view!

“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.  He went to the high priest and asked for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.  As he neared Damascus, on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, Why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.  So get up and go into the city and you will be told what you what you must do.” Acts 9:1-6

Saul had been hunting down disciples, having them arrested and in some cases put to death.  As he traveled on a mission to Damascus, the Lord met him personally.  The light of glory threw Saul to the ground and blinded him.  Jesus asked him a simple question.  The question reveals that when anyone persecutes one of Jesus’ followers, He feels it personally!  Saul was also addressed by first name.  Jesus knows each person by name and knows where they are and what they are doing.  He has plans for those who will be teachable and repent.

Thankfully, Saul repented during the period of blindness that lasted three days.  God sent a disciple named Ananias to lay hands on Saul to receive his sight back.  Ananias was initially afraid of Saul because of his reputation, but God revealed that Saul was His chosen instrument to reach the Gentiles.  (Acts 9:15-16) After he was healed and baptized, Saul began to preach the Gospel in the very synagogues that he had come initially to hunt Christians in!  What a difference an encounter with Jesus makes!

This man’s ministry is the subject of Acts 12-28, and he tells his testimony of this Jesus encounter several times.  Saul became the Apostle Paul who would be a great missionary to the Gentiles and write 13 New Testament books.  His “Jesus encounter” is still being talked and written about over 1900 years later!  Many other “sinners” have found Christ through his testimony!  What amazing love and grace is found in our Lord!

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