Month: May 2022

May 20, 2022

Prayer

Our church is going through a new devotional format, to devote Mondays and Fridays to prayer. We will continue our study through the Book of Acts on Tuesdays through Thursdays.

“Prayer is no petty duty, put into a corner; no piecemeal performance made out of the fragments of time which have been snatched from business and other engagements of life; but it means that the best of our time, the heart of our time and strength must be given.” – E.M. Bounds


Prayer of Gratitude

Prayer of Supplication


May 19, 2022

Acts 10:34-48(ESV)

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ACTS

CHAPTER 1 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 2 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 3 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 4 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 5 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 6 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 7 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 8 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 9 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 10 COMMENTARY

Bible Text: Acts 10:34-48 (ESV)

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Go Deeper

Acts 10:34-35

•       What are the characteristics of those whom God accepts?

Acts 10:39, 42

•       What works of God have I been a witness to and can testify about? What do they reveal about God? And who are those whom God has placed in my life to testify to?

Acts 10:45

•       Why were the circumcised believers amazed and what misconceptions got corrected?



Prayer

May 18, 2022

Acts 10:17-33(ESV)

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ACTS

CHAPTER 1 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 2 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 3 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 4 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 5 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 6 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 7 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 8 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 9 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 10 COMMENTARY

Bible Text: Acts 10:17-33 (ESV)

17 Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate 18 and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. 19 And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.” 21 And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” 22 And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” 23 So he invited them in to be his guests.

The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28 And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”

30 And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

Go Deeper

  • Continuing the character study of Cornelius, what are some observations and lessons?
  • Continue to reflect on the role of prayer in this chapter.
  • Given the barriers Peter had to overcome in order to go to Cornelius’s house, reflect on Peter’s words in v. 28: “God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.” Why is this a fundamental Christian principle? How much has this truth become a reality in my perspective towards myself and others? 


Prayer

May 17, 2022

Acts 10:1-16(ESV)

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ACTS

CHAPTER 1 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 2 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 3 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 4 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 5 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 6 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 7 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 8 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 9 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 10 COMMENTARY

vv.17-19: “Grappling with what we are uncomfortable. In verses 17 and 19 Peter was grappling intensely regarding the meaning of the vision when the Holy Spirit spoke to him. At first Peter vehemently refused to be open to change […] He had strong convictions. But when he sensed that God was indeed teaching him something new, he seriously considered the implications of the vision. Thus, both divine guidance and Peter’s willingness to grasp what God was showing him combined to produce a change in his thinking, even though it was something he was uncomfortable with. A passion for obedience makes God’s servants open to changes with which they may at first be uncomfortable.” [1] 

vv.23b-24: “Six of the Joppa believers accompanied Peter to Caesarea the next day (cf. 11:12)–a wise action in view of the questions that would later be raised at Jerusalem.”[2]

vv.25-28: “Cornelius shows great humility for a centurion, for like the centurion whom Jesus encountered (Luke 7:6), he ‘fell at [Peter’s] feet in reverence’ (v.25). But Peter will have none of this, as such reverence is reserved only for God. (v.26) Such Acts of reverence to respected people were not unusual in the Near East in those days. In fact, it was ‘typical of the welcome a hero receives in the Greek novel.’ But Peter will not risk anything that might suggest that he is accepting the type of respect that is due to God alone.”

“Peter’s discovery, as he explains to his audience, is the pivotal message of this whole passage: ‘God has shown me that I should not call any man impure [koinos] or unclean’ (v.28). Here it has the idea of ‘being ritually unacceptable either as a result of defilement or because of the very nature of the object itself.’ A big shift has taken place in Peter’s thinking, for he now realizes that no longer are the typical Jewish distinctions among people significant. They have been rendered void once and for all. In this episode Jew and Gentile have come together.

An attitude of repentance. When Peter realized that he had been wrong about his earlier prejudices, he readily admitted that in his conversation with Cornelius (v.28). When he preached to the crowd, he again publicly confessed the lesson he had learned: God shows no favoritism.” [3]

v.45: “What was so amazing to Peter’s friends? What they saw with their eyes, they could not grasp with their minds.  They had always been taught that the promises of Scripture were only for God’s chosen people. They could not imagine how Gentiles could be made righteous without first becoming Jews.  It confused them to see God take the initiative and give the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles before they could earn his favor by following the Law.” [4]

Bible Text: Acts 10:1-16 (ESV)

1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, 2 a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” 4 And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7 When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, 8 and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.

9 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

Go Deeper

Acts 10:1-16

  • What are some observations and lessons I can draw from a character study of Cornelius?
  • What is the role of prayer in this chapter? What lesson is here regarding how God can lead my life to those who seek him?

[1] Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series.

[2] Gaebelein, Gen. Ed. Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD, notes for vv.23b-24.

[3] Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series.

[4] Quest Study Bible, study notes, 1521.


Prayer

May 16, 2022

Prayer

Our church is going through a new devotional format, to devote Mondays and Fridays to prayer. We will continue our study through the Book of Acts on Tuesdays through Thursdays.

“The blessing of the closet does not depend on the strong or fervent feeling with which I pray, but on the love and power of the Father to whom I there entrust my needs. Remember your Father sees and hears in secret. Go there and stay there; then leave in confidence.” – Andrew Murray


Prayer of Gratitude

Prayer of Supplication


May 13, 2022

Prayer

Our church is going through a new devotional format, to devote Mondays and Fridays to prayer. We will continue our study through the Book of Acts on Tuesdays through Thursdays.

“There is no way that Christians, in a private capacity, can do so much to promote the work of God and advance the kingdom of Christ as by prayer.” –   Jonathan Edwards


Prayer of Gratitude

Prayer of Supplication


May 12, 2022

Acts 9:32-43(ESV)

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ACTS

CHAPTER 1 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 2 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 3 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 4 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 5 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 6 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 7 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 8 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 9 COMMENTARY

Bible Text:

Acts 9:32-43 (ESV)

32 Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed. 34 And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. 35 And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.

36 Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and Acts of charity. 37 In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner.

Go Deeper

Acts 9:32-43

  • What can I learn from this picture of Peter going from town to town to minister to the established and growing churches?
  • What can I infer about Tabitha’s character and the relationships within the early church at Joppa) given the scene at her deathbed?   
  • Note the similarities between this miracle and the raising of Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:35-43). Here is a picture of how Peter has taken up the work that Jesus carried out while he was on earth. In what ways can I imitate Jesus and take up his ministry in my life? 

[1] Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series, p.302

[2]  Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series, p.302-4.

[3] John Stott, The Spirit, the Church, and the World, (Intervarsity Press, 1990) 178-9.


Prayer

May 11, 2022

Acts 9:20-31 (ESV)

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ACTS

CHAPTER 1 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 2 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 3 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 4 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 5 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 6 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 7 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 8 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 9 COMMENTARY

Bible Text: Acts 9:20-31 (ESV)

20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

23 When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.

26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. 30 And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.

Go Deeper

Acts 9:20-31

  • What can I learn from the fact that Saul immediately started proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues and had “his disciples” (v.25) by the time he had to make his escape from Damascus?
  • What lessons can we learn from the way Saul’s life was targeted from the very start of his ministry as an apostle of Jesus, and from the ways he survived?

[1] Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series, p.302

[2]  Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series, p.302-4.

[3] John Stott, The Spirit, the Church, and the World, (Intervarsity Press, 1990) 178-9.


Prayer

May 10, 2022

Acts 9:1-19(ESV)

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ACTS

CHAPTER 1 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 2 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 3 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 4 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 5 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 6 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 7 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 8 COMMENTARY

CHAPTER 9 COMMENTARY

“CONVERSION.  The English word “conversion” comes from the Latin convertere, meaning “to turn around.”  The equivalent Greek word, epistrophe, appears only once in the New Testament (Acts 15:3), though the NIV translates as “convert” words that literally mean “proselyte,” “neophyte,” and “firstfruits.”  Related verbs like “to turn” (epistrepho) and synonyms such as “repentance,” “regeneration,” and being “born again” appear often.

Paul’s conversion is sometimes described as a typical biblical conversion.  But it has many atypical features.  It was triggered by a post-resurrection appearance of Christ.  It was a sudden turnaround in direction with no evidence that he had been moving toward Christianity (as is the case with most converts).  His was a conversion like that of C.S. Lewis, who said, “I gave in and admitted that God was God and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”  The last thing Saul ever intended to do was to become a Christian.  But he was, in his own words, “grasped by Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:12).  In the features given below, however, his conversion is typical of biblical conversions.” [1]

“Features typical of biblical conversions:

(1) Conversion comes as a result of a divine initiative. […]

(2) There is a personal encounter with Christ (vv. 4-6).  We all meet Jesus in different ways; but if we are converted, we have met him and entered into a personal relationship with him.  Jesus said that eternal life is to know God and Jesus Christ (John 17:3).  D.A. Carson comments on this verse, “Eternal life is not so much everlasting life as personal knowledge of the Everlasting One.”

(3) Paul surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.  While the word kyrios in verse 5 can mean either “Lord” or “sir,” there is no doubt that what we have here is a deep surrender of Saul’s life to Christ.  This is evidenced by his total fast for three days, indicating that until he completed the process that began on the road, he was not going to cease from his intense quest for God.  Such surrender is indeed the norm for all followers of Jesus.  Paul’s later radical calls to discipleship imply nothing short of total surrender to the Lordship of Christ.  Roy Clements says he does not “use the phrases “decided for Christ’ or ‘committed to Christ,’ though decision and commitment are certainly involved…. Conversion is at root not a decision, nor a commitment, but a surrender to the supreme authority of Jesus.”

(4) We see the important place of the body of Christ in the conversion process.  While Paul was eager to show that the gospel he received had not been taught to him by any human but was given by the Lord himself (Gal. 1), others in the body of Christ played an important role in his conversion and early Christian life.  Through baptism he was incorporated to this body (Acts 9:18).  Then he “spent several days with the disciples in Damascus” (v. 19).  The thing that stands out in our passage is the role of the two encouragers, Ananias and Barnabas.  Probably the first words Saul heard from a Christian after his conversion were, “Brother Saul” (v. 17).  Stott says, “It must have been music to his ears.”  The archenemy of the church was welcomed as a brother; the dreaded fanatic was received as a member of the family.  Lloyd Ogilvie muses, “Imagine laying your hands on someone who you know had been on his way to arrest you!”  There you see the love of the encourager reaching out to a new believer in spite of his past. […]

(5) Though Saul’s conversion is individual, it is not individualistic.” […]  [2]

“vv.3-9: …To ascribe Saul’s conversion to God’s initiative can easily be misunderstood, however, and needs to be qualified in two ways, namely that the sovereign grace which captured Saul was neither sudden (in the sense that there had been no previous preparation) nor compulsive (in the sense that he needed to make no response).

First, Saul’s conversion was not at all the ‘sudden conversion’ it is often said to have been.  To be sure, the final intervention of Christ was sudden: ‘Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him’ (3), and a voice addressed him.  But this was by no means the first time Jesus Christ had spoken to him.  According to Paul’s own later narrative, Jesus said to him: ‘It is hard for you to kick against the goads’ (26:14).  By this proverb (which seems to have been fairly common in both Greek and Latin literature) Jesus likened Saul to a lively and recalcitrant young bullock, and himself to a farmer using goads to break him in.  The implication is that Jesus was pursuing Saul, prodding and pricking him, which it was ‘hard’ (painful, even futile) for him to resist.  What were these goads, with which Jesus had been pricking him, and against which Saul had been kicking?  We are not specifically told what they were, but the New Testament gives us a number of hints.

One goad was surely his doubts.  With his conscious mind he repudiated Jesus as an imposter, who had been rejected by his own people and had died on a cross under the curse of God. […] Even if they did not meet, Saul will have heard reports of Jesus’ teaching and miracles, character and claims, together with the persistent rumor from many witnesses that he had been raised from death and seen.

Another goad will have been Stephen.  This was no hearsay, for Saul had been present at his trial and his execution.  He had seen with his own eyes both Stephen’s face shining like an angel’s (6:15), and his courageous non-resistance while being stoned to death (7:58-60).  He had also heard with his own ears Stephen’s eloquent speech before the Sanhedrin, as well perhaps as his wisdom in the synagogue (6:9-10), his prayer for the forgiveness of his executioners, and his extraordinary claim to see Jesus as the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand (7:56).  It is in these ways that ‘Stephen and not Gamaliel was the real master of St Paul’.  For Saul could not suppress the witness of Stephen. […]

But the goads of Jesus were moral as well as intellectual.  Saul’s bad conscience probably caused him more inner turmoil even than his nagging doubts.  For although he could claim to have been ‘faultless’ in external righteousness, he knew that his thoughts, motives and desires were not clean in God’s sight. […]

If God’s grace was not sudden, it was not compulsive either.  That is, the Christ who appeared to him and spoke to him did not crush him.  He humbled him, so that he fell to the ground, but he did not violate his personality.  He did not demean Saul into a robot or compel him to perform certain actions in a kind of hypnotic trance.  On the contrary, Jesus put to him a probing question, ‘why do you persecute me?’  He thus appealed to his reason and conscience, in order to bring into his consciousness the folly and evil of what he was doing.  Jesus then told him to get up and go into the city, where he would be told what to do next.  And Saul was not so overwhelmed by the vision and the voice as to be deprived of speech and unable to reply.  No, he answered Christ’s question with two counter-questions: first, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ (5) and secondly, “What shall I do, Lord?’ (22:10).  His response was rational, conscientious and free. […]

To sum up, the cause of Saul’s conversion was grace, the sovereign grace of God.  But sovereign grace is gradual grace and gentle grace.  Gradually, and without violence, Jesus pricked Saul’s mind and conscience with his goads.  Then he revealed himself to him by the light and the voice, not in order to overwhelm him, but in such a way as to enable him to make a free response.  Divine grace does not trample on human personality.  Rather the reverse, for it enables human beings to be truly human.  It is sin which imprisons; it is grace which liberates.  The grace of God so frees us from the bondage of our pride, prejudice and self-centredness, as to enable us to repent and believe. […]

vv.26-31: It is not an accident that the Greek word for witness (martys) came to be associated with martyrdom.  ‘Suffering, then, is the badge of true discipleship’, wrote Bonhoeffer.

Yet the world’s opposition did not impede the spread of the gospel or the growth of the church.  On the contrary, Luke ends his narrative of Saul’s conversion, which culminated in his providential escape from danger, with another of his summary verses (31).  He described the church, which has now spread throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria, as having five characteristics – peace (free from external interference), strength (consolidating its position), encouragement (enjoying paraklesis, the special ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete), growth (multiplying numerically) and godliness (living in the fear of the Lord).” [3]

Bible Text

Acts 9:1-19 (ESV)

1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.

For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.

Go Deeper

Acts 9:1-19

  • Describe all that Saul must have been thinking and feeling as he encountered Jesus, heard these words, and was without sight for three days.
  • What can I learn about God through this passage? Consider what Saul was doing, Ananias’s initial response to God, and the way God chose to restore Saul’s sight. (Consider especially his view of you.)
  • Does this passage help me understand my own story, or challenge or commission me in some way?

[1] Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series, p.302

[2]  Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series, p.302-4.

[3] John Stott, The Spirit, the Church, and the World, (Intervarsity Press, 1990) 178-9.


Prayer

May 9, 2022

Prayer

Our church is going through a new devotional format, to devote Mondays and Fridays to prayer. We will continue our study through the Book of Acts on Tuesdays through Thursdays.

“God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. They outlive the lives of those who uttered them.”

– E.M. Bounds


Prayer of Gratitude

Prayer of Supplication


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