(43 verses, 6:00 to read)
What I am about to READ
The conversion of Saul and Peter continues the work of an apostle.
MARK & LEARN
1-2: Saul is portrayed wild beast hell-bent on killing and imprisoning Christians – those belonging to the Way (Jesus called Himself “the Way” in John 14:6). “Asked him for letters” – Saul is acting on official business of the high priest and the Sanhedrin.
3-9: The beginning of Saul’s conversion. Dramatically and suddenly, Jesus appears to Saul in His full divinity. Note that Jesus asks Saul why he is persecuting “ME.” To persecute the disciples is to persecute the Master. Here Jesus crushes Saul’s heart with the full weight of the law. For three days Saul is left blind and shaken to the core. No absolution is announced…yet. No Gospel is preached…yet.
10-18: The Lord then spoke to His faithful disciple Ananias in a vision, giving him a special task. Apprehensive at first due to Saul’s horrific reputation, Ananias does as the Lord willed. Saul is God’s chosen instrument to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles. Yet, Ananias is God’s chosen instrument to announce the absolution, “lay hands on him,” and baptize Saul. In other words, Jesus uses the means He instituted for His Church – even in this spectacular case. Paul is filled with the Holy Spirit, absolved, and baptized. His conversion is now complete. He’s no longer a Jew; he’s a Christian (a follower of the Way).
19-22: Increasing in strength, Paul immediately went out to preach Jesus: “He is the Son of God.” Of course this was a complete 180 for Saul, so all who heard this were shocked. Yet Saul continued preaching, confounding the Jews, and proving that Jesus was the Christ.
23-25: Jesus’ words in verse 16 quickly prove true. This conversion was not a great worldly advantage of Saul. The tables have turned; Saul is now the target of the Jews. By the grace of God, with a little help from his friends, Saul escapes the plot to kill him.
26-31: Saul returns to Jerusalem. Once again his murderous reputation precedes him. The disciples are afraid of him. Could this really be true? Saul’s confession and his preaching boldly in the name of the Lord made it obvious…Saul was now a Christian!
32-42: The focus of the chapter now turns to the work Peter was doing in the name of Christ. He heals Aneneas in Lydda, and “all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord” (v. 35). Similarly, in Joppa Peter heals Tabitha/Dorcas, and “it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord” (v. 42). The Gospel is spreading!
Saul’s conversion was certainly exceptional and spectacular! This was a true miracle! A murderous persecutor, who hated the true God Jesus Christ, is killed by Jesus’ word of law. He is then brought back to life in Christ through the absolution and Holy Baptism. Miraculously, this evil sinner is filled with the Holy Spirit and given faith to believe in Jesus Christ alone. On second thought, that’s not all that different from all conversions…including yours!
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: http://ift.tt/1rRKXTH
Pastor Kevin Zellers, Jr.