Bible Study (Acts 9:19-35) – Wednesday February 21, 2024

Beginning in Acts 9:19, we observed the result of what happens when someone savingly encounters Jesus. Saul was now a dramatically changed man, and he immediately began to preach throughout the synagogues of Damascus that Jesus IS the Son of God. The people who heard him preach were astonished to comprehend that this same man who had come from Jerusalem to persecute the Christians in Damascus was suddenly identifying as a Christian himself! But Saul continued to increase in his understanding of Jesus along with an increased ability to demonstrate the validity of his proclamation.

After Saul had proclaimed Jesus as Lord for quite some time, the Jewish leaders in Damascus had enough and made plans to kill Saul. Providentially, their murderous plot became known to Saul that they were lying in wait at the gates of the city to seize him; and so, Saul’s disciples used the cover of night to whisk him safely away from Damascus by letting him down the wall, lowering him in a basket. For now, Saul was safe! But Saul did not run and hide. Instead, he traveled to the place he had come from: Jerusalem. There, he tried to join himself to the Christians there, but they were so afraid of him that they refused to accept him, disbelieving his claim that he was now a Christian. But Barnabas believed in the genuineness of Saul’s conversion and brought him to the apostles, declaring all that God had wrought in Saul’s life. From that point on, Saul became accepted in the Jerusalem Christian community, and he began to debate the Hellenists (just as Stephen had). Because they had no way of refuting his arguments any more than they were able to refute Stephen, they planned to kill Saul. And so the apostles sent Saul away from Jerusalem for his safety, with Tarsus being his ultimate destination.

With Saul safe from his murderers, the church throughout all of Israel now experienced peace from persecution. What a kindness from God! The Christian community walked in a true fear of God, comforted and strengthened by the Spirit of Christ. Consequently, God continued to expand the church, giving it growth in size and spiritual maturity.

The final section of our narrative began an abrupt transition by Luke from Saul to Peter in Acts 9:32. He described the itinerant ministry of Peter, beginning with a trip to the believers in Lydda. While in Lydda, Peter encountered a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed and confined to his bed for 8 years. Directed by the Spirit and through the power of Christ, Peter informed Aeneas that he would be healed that very moment by Jesus Christ, and he commanded him to get up and to make his bed. Aeneas immediately did so, proving that Jesus had indeed healed him! And the residents of both Lydda and Sharon were so moved by this event that they turned from their heathen ways to follow after the Lord Jesus Christ. What an amazing event!

You can listen to this teaching on Acts 9:19-35 by clicking on the following link: The Result of Encountering Jesus