Summary: The Church had murderous threats from Saul. Then how Saul became a great missionary in the early church has been unfolded in this chapter as the conversion experience of Saul. Read further to the development.
Acts 9:1-31 Saul’s Conversion Experience
9:01-02 Saul threats the Church
9:03-09 Saul repents through Vision
9:10-19 Ananias Misunderstanding and understandings on Saul
9:20-31 Barnabas Disciples Saul
Acts 9:1-2 Saul threatens the Church.
After narrating the growing evangelistic ministry of Philip in Samaria and Judea, Saint Luke gives another account. He went back to the Church at Jerusalem and recorded the events thereat. Luke explains the conditions of the new believers in Christ. Jewish Scholars and followers of Judaism thought that they could disturb this new group called disciples of Christ. So, they threaten them and even persecuted to death. In this context, Luke introduces a vigorous young man known Saul as a fanatic of Judaism. He took the law of Moses and the law of the land in his hand to destroy the Church. Saul targeted the believers' group of men, women, and children. He got the approval and permission from his religious authorities and persecuted the believers in Christ. It was pleasing to the eyes of the Roman authorities. So, they outrightly approved the activities of Saul.
Acts 9:3-9 Saul repents through vision.
Now, Saul was on his way to Damascus for the persecution mission, but he met Jesus Christ and turned his mission into His Mission. The mission of persecution turned into a mission of persuasion of the Gospel of Christ. He came to know the unknown Messiah and understood the grace of God. The vision on the way and the conversation with Jesus Paul experienced that Christ identified himself with all those who had been oppressed, depressed, persecuted, and wrongly prosecuted. Here, Christ has revealed a truth that no one could have a cakewalk over the underprivileged, orphan, weaker sections, and deserted because he is with them. Christ is disturbed when Christians are disturbed. Christ is pained when Christians go through persecution. Because he dwells in them, lives among them, and identifies with them in all their struggles. The wrong connotation of the mission has changed into the right notion in the mission.
Acts 9:10-19 Ananias Misunderstanding and understanding of Saul.
Luke introduces Ananias as a biased believer about others. He gave weight to the reports what he had received from the people. The past stories of Saul prevented Ananias to appreciate the conversion experience of Saul. Ananias could not believe the real transformation of Saul. We should not dwell in the past events of others. We need to unlearn many things from the mind about others. We need to be open books to understand the grace of God. The creativity of God is fresh every day, and he deals with all of us with his new mercies and graces. Day after day, He involves in the history and the lives of believers and brings vital changes, and many times he does those things beyond our understandings. We need to listen to the voice of God, and we must yield to the plan of God, then we will see better growth in the Church and its mission activities. Clearing the misunderstandings takes us to the greater height of unity and community.
Acts 9:20-31 Barnabas Disciples Saul
Saul became increasingly powerful and confounded the Jews with the Gospel of Christ in Damascus. He believed that Jesus was the Messiah and made others know this Truth. But Saul encountered with life threat. So he was asked to move away from Damascus. So he left Damascus and reached Jerusalem. Saul did not have a rosy reception. But suspicion and doubts about his life, conversion, and character made people stay away from him. But Barnabas received him and disciple him. He encouraged him and became a supporter of his formation and mission. The attitude of Barnabas became an example for many to deal with new converts and new believes in Christ. A believer can become a firebrand if he is trained adequately and shown the right path of understanding for ministry. At the same time, new believers could be misleading and mistreated in the Church.
1. Do we need to have a political connection to escape persecution and to safeguard faith and the Church?
2. Are your life and mission bring glory to God?
3. Christ is concerned about the Church and believers' activities. Share your experiences.
4. How do we approach the converts and train them for enduring commitment?
(For series of studies on Acts of the Apostles, kindly refer to other sermons posted on this site)