Reading For Thursday Acts 9:1-19
Following the martyrdom of Stephen, a man named Saul advanced the widespread persecution of the church in Jerusalem. He was determined to eradicate the followers of Jesus by binding them and bringing them to Jerusalem. He obtained letters from the high priest authorizing him to go into the Damascus synagogues and continue the search. As he approached the city, a light from heaven shone around him. This light was brighter and heavier than the light of the midday sun. Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice asking about the persecution that he was leading. Saul inquires as to who is seeking these answers. Saul is told that he is persecuting none other than Jesus himself. He instructs Saul to go into the city and wait until he is told what to do. The men that were traveling with him heard the voice but did not see anyone. After this encounter with Jesus, Saul was unable to see and had to be led into the city. For three days, Saul could not see, and he did not eat or drink anything.
The Lord appeared to a disciple named Ananias. He gave Ananias detailed instructions about where to go in order to see the man called Saul of Tarsus who was praying and had already seen in a vision that Ananias would be coming to restore his sight. Ananias is somewhat reluctant to go and pleads his case based on the things that Saul was doing to the saints in Jerusalem and reminding God that he had secured letters to continue the persecution in Damascus. God tells Ananias that Saul is his chosen instrument and would bear witness to Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. Saul would also have to suffer for the cause of Christ. Ananias obeyed and went as instructed to the house where Saul was staying. When laying his hands on Saul, he called him brother and explained that he was there so that he would regain his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Something like scales fell from Saul's eyes and in obedience, he was baptized. He also took sustenance and was strengthened.
Things To Consider:
- How is Saul persecuting Jesus?
- Why did Saul fall before the light?
- How was Saul's blindness a parable?
- Why do you think Ananias responded initially the way he did? Was it understandable?
- Do you think Ananias had questions about Saul's mission? Why or why not?
- Why are obedience and baptism important for the follower of Jesus?