We pick up in Acts 9 with Saul and his targeted persecution of the church. He was on a mission to arrest any Christians he found in Damascus. God got his attention with a light from heaven that caused him to fall to the ground. I like the two questions Saul asks:
- Who are you Lord?
- What do you want me to do?
Saul’s identity was forever changed that day. Soon after he was known only as Paul. He goes on to become the writer of most of the New Testament books. I think we can learn something from his questions. I always say that you can tell more about a person and the questions they ask versus the answers they have. Today when we are trying to find our identity we often ask “Who am I?” and “What am I supposed to do?” We need to find our identity and purpose in Jesus. Paul spent the rest of his life fulfilling and answering those questions.
I find it interesting that only days before he was persecuting Christians and then he’s preaching Christ. Obviously some people found issues with this and it scared the church. We see the first plot to kill Paul in Damascus the very city he was heading to to persecute the church. He was smuggled out of town to save his life. He went to Jerusalem. Barnabas took him under his wing and brought him to the apostles. Once again he started preaching and debating and once again his life was under threat. What a turn of events. The apostles send him on to Tarsus his hometown.
The church was peaceful at this time. It became stronger and that was evidenced through: believers were edified, walked in the fear of Lord and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Due to this the church continued to multiply. That’s a recipe for church growth: edification, fear of God and comfort of Holy Spirit.
We wrap up this chapter with Peter being used by God to perform two healings/miracles. Aeneas was healed when Peter spoke a healing word over him. Dorcas was dead and Peter came and spoke life over her. Are we speaking healing and life-giving words over others? We’d be surprised what God could do with healing and life-giving words. Many came to believe in the Lord because of what God used Peter to do in this area.