Summary: Saul returns to Jerusalem and is met with skepticism
Back to Jerusalem
Jeff Hughes – June 29, 2003
Calvary Chapel Aggieland
Homecomings are generally really great things. I was a foreign exchange student while I was in high school, and I lived a year overseas in Australia. Far away from my family and friends, I was pretty lonely there for a while. I really enjoyed being there, but I wanted to go home, too.
Finally, the day came, when I got on a plane in Sydney, and flew back home to Texas. I was so exhausted after the 32 hour flight, that when I finally got home, I crashed out on my bed in my grandma’s house for some 16 hours.
They had planned a homecoming that day for me, and as the family came in from Austin and all points in between. My older sister finally burst in the room and woke me up, because I was about to miss my own party.
What does that have to do with our story today? Not much, but it seemed like a good thing to say, as we see Saul heading back to Jerusalem, and his welcome, his homecoming wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as the one I had.
We are going to look at this in depth as we continue our study through Acts this morning.
But first, let’s pray, and ask the Lord to bless our study this morning.
A former Pastor of a large church in Houston tells the story of his coming there to candidate for the position of pastor many years ago. He said that as he entered the auditorium it was dimly lit, with just a few people huddled together. They were singing some old slow funeral type song that was depressing.
Later that day he took a walk in downtown Houston and came upon a jewelry store. It was some sort of grand opening and there were bright lights and a greeter at the door to welcome you in with a smile. Inside there was a celebration going on. There were refreshments and people having a good time talking and laughing with each other. They welcomed him and offered him some punch. He said that after attending both the church and the jewelry store, if the jewelry store had offered an invitation, he would have joined the jewelry store!
Last week, we saw as Saul was embraced and accepted by the church at Damascus. This week, we see a different kind of reception coming from the church at Jerusalem. But, one man had the faith to believe that God had changed Saul of Tarsus, and we will see just what Saul the Christian is up to in Jerusalem.
We are going to look at these events in detail as we continue through the book of Acts. Acts is just past John, and right before the book of Romans in the New Testament. We will pick up our study starting in chapter 9, verse 23 today, and so follow along as we read.
23 Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. 24 But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. 25 Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket. 26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. 29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. 30 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus. 31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.