Acts 9

There is no need to despair of the conversion of those who commit the worst outrages against Christianity, for the power of the Lord Jesus is able to break down the stubborn will of one who is at the same time chief of legalists and chief of sinners. God chooses the instruments He would employ in His service, and is able to fit them for His designs by the power of His Spirit.

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.

3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? 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.

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.

9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

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.

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.

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:

16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

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.

20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

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:

24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.

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.

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.

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.

32 ¶ And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.

33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.

34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.

35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.

36 ¶ Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.

37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.

38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.

39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.

40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.

41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.

42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.

43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.

Acts 9:1-9 – ​Winning a Persecutor

   A year had passed since Acts 8:3. “The Way” had become the accepted phrase for the infant Church and its presentation of the truth, Acts 19:9; 22:4. It may refer to the course of life the Christians pursued, or to their method of getting right with God—not by the deeds of the Law, but by their faith in Christ, Romans 10:5-10. Compare with this narrative Acts 26:13 and 22:6. Saul’s companions saw the light and heard a noise, but did not see the Lord or distinguish what was said.
   Mark how the Lord Jesus identifies Himself with His suffering ones. Their sufferings are His, Acts 9:5. To hurt them is to hurt Him. The pricks are the ox-goad. The more the ox resists, the deeper the wound. Even from heaven the Master speaks in parables. Evidently for a long time—perhaps from the death of Stephen—the persecutor had been fighting against conviction. When God needs captains for His army, He not unseldom takes them from the ranks of the enemy. The foremost persecutor became the foremost leader of the Church. The conversion of Saul was due to the personal interposition of the living Christ. It was the pierced hand that arrested and apprehended him. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 9:10-22 – ​Opened Eyes

   How graciously God makes use of prepared souls as partners in the work of salvation! It would have been easy for the risen Lord to have Himself completed what He had begun; or He might have brought a Philip or an Apostle upon the scene. But instead of this He called a comparatively obscure man who was to give Saul the help and counsel he needed, Galatians 4:19. See to it that you are of such a temper that Jesus may commission you to heal the wounds with which He brings His predestined servants to the ground. A little taper may be used to kindle a great light. Though not a great man Ananias was pre-eminently a good man, Acts 22:12. He had his strong prepossessions, but laid them aside at the bidding of Christ. Take care not to entrench yourself too strongly in your prejudices. Be mobile to Christ’s touch, while you are strong against all others. What a comfort Acts 9:15 must have been to Paul in after-days! Perhaps the sweetest part of these terms of his commission was unto Me. It was a noble act of faith for Ananias to call him brother. Yet if the Master accepted, the disciple could not refuse. Note that a new convert was bidden in those days to seek the pentecostal gift! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 9:23-31 – ​Welcomed as a Brother

   He who feeds on Scripture must wax strong. The new convert started at once to testify of the Savior. We have no right to keep to ourselves the great treasures that we have discovered, but must copy the lepers of II Kings 7:9. He probably showed from a comparison between the predictions of the Old Testament and the facts of our Lord’s life, that the key exactly fitted the wards of the ancient lock, and so proved its genuineness.
   Those many days in Acts 9:23 probably include the three years spent in Arabia, Galatians 1:17. It was as though Paul wanted time and solitude for quiet thought. We may suppose that he went to Sinai, and there amid the silences of the school where Moses had studied before him, he received of the Lord Jesus that which also he was commissioned to pass on to the Church. From Arabia, he returned to Damascus; then happened Acts 9:24-25. Finally he came to Jerusalem, where he had the opportunity of comparing his teaching with that of the Apostles, Galatians 1:18-24. A vision led him to leave Jerusalem, Acts 22:17-21. While at Tarsus, he probably founded the churches in Cilicia, Acts 15:23, 41. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 9:31—Then had the Churches rest, and were edified; and… were multiplied.

​   The Church grew not simply by addition, but by multiplication. Three added to three make six; three multiplied by three, nine. That is the Pentecostal ratio of increase. These are the conditions of Church growth:–
   First, there must be peace.—Let us endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. As far as it lies in our power, let each of us live peaceably with all men. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and railing, be put away out of our hearts, with all malice, and let us be kind one to another, tender-hearted, and imitating God the great Peacemaker.
   Next, the Church must be edified.—We must build ourselves up on our most holy faith. And, indeed, such growth in grace and the knowledge of God is almost inevitable where the Holy Ghost breaks up the reign of apathy and stagnation. When its foundations are deeply laid in righteousness and peace, the City of God arises into the pure air.
   Moreover, the members of such a Christian community must walk in the fear of the Lord. To walk means the daily plodding, routine life—full of commonplaces, somewhat prosaic—but always ruled by the fear of grieving the heart that was pierced on Calvary. Lastly, we must walk in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate, Teacher, Guide; and we should habitually dwell in his radiant and helpful environment. What a difference there is between sea weeds and sea flowers expanding in their rock surrounded aquariums, and the same when taken into common air! Such is the contrast wrought by the Spirit. —Our Daily Homily

​Acts 9:32-43 – Strength and Life through Christ

   Peter was now free for a visit of apostolic inspection, of which the two incidents here preserved are the only record. Lydda was a village on the great plain, abutting on the seaboard. The effect of the miracle of healing wrought upon Aeneas was profound. A general conversion of the agricultural population was the immediate result. They all turned to the Lord. The villagers had probably been prepared by the tidings of what had taken place, and a single spark sufficed to set the whole country in a blaze.
   The little church at Joppa had sustained a serious loss in the death of one of its chief workers, a woman named Dorcas, Acts 9:36-37. She is described as a certain disciple. She had learned of Jesus Christ the great lesson that the love of God implies ministry to others, and she gave herself to practice it by quiet, feminine handiwork, which she distributed among the desolate and friendless women of the town. Peter’s prayer in the chamber of death was answered, and Dorcas was given back to her friends. Our Lord put His seal upon her work, and she has been crowned as the patron saint of women workers. —Through the Bible Day by Day