The book of Acts describes the acts of the apostles following Jesus’ ascension into Heaven. It records the history of the church’s first years, as penned by Luke, and the outworking of Christianity in the first century. Acts includes vivid and engaging stories that illustrate the first-century apostles sharing the good news of Jesus, embracing the Holy Spirit, experiencing the rapid growth of the church and new believers, and planning their missionary travels. In particular, the apostle Paul is mentioned many times in Acts recounting his missionary journeys. But this passage in Acts chapter 9 describes the other side of Paul…the former Paul…Saul: the one who knew almost the whole Old Testament by memory but persecuted Christians for their faith in Jesus as the Messiah. But on the road to Damascus… Saul met Jesus. And he went from a devout Jewish scholar to a gospel-believing evangelist all within a matter of 3 days. Saul went from death to life. His experience with Jesus changed everything and his name was later changed to Paul. Paul’s story is powerful, heartfelt and personal because it is a reflection of what happens in in every person’s life when he or she has an encounter with Jesus. Though many don’t hear an audible voice or see a bright light the way that Paul did, every believer can affirm the radical change that occurs within one’s own soul… causing a person to abandon his or her old ways and triumph as a new creation. This passage reinforces God’s heart for the lost and His gracious compassion to use any-and-everyone to achieve His glory on the earth. Jesus is made famous through the life of Paul, as well as every believer who puts his or her faith in His everlasting Lordship. In this passage, we see Jesus meeting Paul when he least expected it…but not with judgment or punishment…but with an overwhelming posture of grace. As we get to know Jesus in Acts chapter 9, may we recognize the merciful heart of our Savior and grow in His likeness.
Summary of Acts 9:1-22
Saul is breathing threats against the disciples of Jesus; Saul goes to the high priest to ask him for letters to the synagogue at Damascus so that he could find more Christ followers, arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem; Saul sees a light from heaven while on the road to Damascus; Saul falls to the ground and a voice from heaven asks Saul why he is persecuting Him; Saul asks, “Who are you, Lord?” and the voice tells him that He is Jesus; Jesus tells Saul to go into the city and that he will be told what to do next; the men traveling with Paul are speechless as they hear the voice but can’t see anything; Saul becomes blind and remains that way for 3 days; a disciple named Ananias has a vision from the Lord – the Lord tells him to go to the street called Straight and look for a man named Saul, who has seen Ananias heal him in a vision; Ananias is hesitant about helping Saul, as he knows that he persecutes Christians; the Lord reassures Ananias that Saul has been chosen by God to carry the gospel message to Jews and Gentiles; Ananias goes and finds Saul and tells him that the Lord has sent him to heal his sight and fill him with the Holy Spirit; scales fall from Saul’s eyes; Saul gets baptized; Saul takes food and is strengthened; Saul spends time with the disciples in Damascus and proclaims in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God; those who heard him are confused because they remembered him as the one who persecuted Christians; Saul continues to exclaim that Jesus was the Christ.
You can also read Acts 9:1-22 here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts+9%3A1-22&version=ESV
Jesus in Acts 9:1-22
Jesus radiates a bright light (v. 3)
Jesus is the light from Heaven (v. 3)
Jesus’ presence causes Saul to fall to the ground (v. 4)
Jesus confronts Saul about persecuting Him (v. 4)
Jesus is unafraid to call out and confront evil (v. 4)
Jesus confronts Saul so that he can change him (v. 4)
Jesus reveals Himself so that Saul will finally see that Jesus is who He said He was (v. 4-5)
Jesus is persecuted when we are persecuted (v. 5)
Jesus offers a second chance (v. 6)
Jesus is not threatened by those who persecute Him (v. 6)
Jesus tells us our next step (v. 6)
Jesus’ voice leaves the travelers speechless (v. 7)
Jesus’ light is blindingly bright (v. 8-9)
Jesus speaks through a vision (v. 10)
Jesus calls Ananias to partner with Him (v. 11)
Jesus gives others the power to heal (v. 12)
Jesus is forgiving (v. 15)
Jesus can use anybody for His glory (v. 15)
Jesus chooses us (v. 15)
Jesus sends us out to help others (v. 17)
Jesus’ Holy Spirit brings healing (v. 17-18)
Jesus’ Holy Spirit brings strength (v. 19)
Jesus is the Son of God (v. 20)
Jesus radically changes people (v. 21-22)
Jesus is the Christ (v. 22)
“But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.” – Acts 9:22 –
Questions for Today:
- Why did Jesus meet Paul on the road to Damascus?
- What does Jesus need to confront in my life right now?
- How does knowing these attributes of Jesus help me to be more like Him?
- What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my walk with Him?