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Saul’s Conversion June 25, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Acts 9:1-19a.

Summary: In this passage, Saul traveled to Damascus; he planned to arrest any believers in that city and bring them to Jerusalem. As he approached Damascus, though, he encountered Jesus Christ for the first time; He spoke to him and temporarily afflicted him with blindness. Saul was then led into Damascus by his companions; he fasted and prayed in the house of Judas for three days. After that, Christ appeared to him and a believer named Ananias in separate visions – declaring that He would work through Ananias to make him a blessing to the Gentiles. While Ananias was fearful of Saul – as his reputation preceded him – Christ overcame these fears and enabled him to:

  • baptize Saul
  • restore his vision.

Thoughts: In verses 9 and 11, we see that Saul fasted and prayed during a period of temporary blindness. I assume that while he maintained his faith in the God of Israel, he struggled to comprehend the meaning of the voice from heaven that confronted him in verses 4-6. Perhaps he pondered these questions:

  • could Jesus of Nazareth have been the promised Messiah?
  • wasn’t Jesus of Nazareth a megalomaniac who died a shameful death on a cross?

The tenets of Judaism that fueled his lifelong zeal for the God of Israel were now in doubt – spurring him to introspection. Perhaps his blindness – and his fasting – inflamed his desire to obtain answers from God to the questions noted above. As a man of action, he would not rest until he could determine the authenticity of this voice from heaven; moreover, if Jesus of Nazareth really was the promised Messiah, he had to know how he should live in light of that revelation.

Ananias is a central figure in this passage, and I certainly hope to meet him in the next life and learn more about him. Was he born and raised in Damascus? How did he come to believe that Jesus is the Son of God? What thoughts raced through his mind as he approached the house of Judas, entered it and placed his hands on Saul? Did he fear that Saul would arrest him – or even kill him – after his sight was restored? Did the Jews in Damascus persecute him, knowing that he played a critical role in the conversion of Saul? Was he able to bring others to a saving faith in Christ after the events of this passage?

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