Day 306: Saul’s Conversion
So, imagine you are the best ever at following the law. Imagine these people come along saying this dead guy is still alive and here to change the law(that’s probably how it sounded to him). Now imagine you’re walking down the road to go and kill some of these upstarts and the ‘dead guy’ shows up and asks why you’re persecuting Him. Wow! What a way to meet Jesus!! So, our friend Saul(the one that was pleased that Stephen was stoned) now believes. He is struck blind and sent to the very people he was trying to kill for refuge. They took him in, healed him and helped him to escape later When his former colleagues were coming after him. Then, he heads out into the countryside to preach of Christ.
Now we meet Cornelius the centurion. He has a vision from God telling him to send for Simon Peter. At the same time,Peter has a vision which he soon realizes is telling him not to keep the message from the Gentiles. You see, up till now, the message of Jesus was only being shared with the Jewish people. So, Cornelius is the first official non-Jewish Christian.
Some of the people escaping persecution went to Antioch. They formed their own church there…and also started preaching to the Gentiles. The church in Jerusalem sent Barnabus to check it out and he thought it was great! So, he went and found Saul and they stayed there and taught the Christians of Antioch.
Verses: Acts 9:1-11:30
1 But Saul, yet breathing threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 and asked of him letters to Damascus unto the synagogues, that if he found any that were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, it came to pass that he drew nigh unto Damascus: and suddenly there shone round about him a light out of heaven:
4 and he fell upon the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:
6 but rise, and enter into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7 And the men that journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but beholding no man.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing; and they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
9 And he was three days without sight, and did neither eat nor drink.
10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said unto him in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go to the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one named Saul, a man of Tarsus: for behold, he prayeth;
12 and he hath seen a man named Ananias coming in, and laying his hands on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 But Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard from many of this man, how much evil he did to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call upon thy name.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 for I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
17 And Ananias departed, and entered into the house; and laying his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, who appeared unto thee in the way which thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
18 And straightway there fell from his eyes as it were scales, and he received his sight; and he arose and was baptized;
19 and he took food and was strengthened. And he was certain days with the disciples that were at Damascus.
20 And straightway in the synagogues he proclaimed Jesus, that he is the Son of God.
21 And all that heard him were amazed, and said, Is not this he that in Jerusalem made havoc of them that called on this name? and he had come hither for this intent, that he might bring them bound before the chief priests.
22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews that dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is the Christ.
23 And when many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel together to kill him:
24 but their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates also day and night that they might kill him:
25 but his disciples took him by night, and let him down through the wall, lowering him in a basket.
26 And when he was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: and they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.
28 And he was with them going in and going out at Jerusalem,
29 preaching boldly in the name of the Lord: and he spake and disputed against the Grecian Jews; but they were seeking to kill him.
30 And when the brethren knew it, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
31 So the church throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, being edified; and, walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, was multiplied.
32 And it came to pass, as Peter went throughout all parts, he came down also to the saints that dwelt at Lydda.
33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had kept his bed eight years; for he was palsied.
34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ healeth thee: arise and make thy bed. And straightway he arose.
35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and in Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
37 And it came to pass in those days, that she fell sick, and died: and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper chamber.
38 And as Lydda was nigh unto Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men unto him, entreating him, Delay not to come on unto us.
39 And Peter arose and went with them. And when he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled 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; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
42 And it became known throughout all Joppa: and many believed on the Lord.
43 And it came to pass, that he abode many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
1 Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, Cornelius by name, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
2 a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, who gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.
3 He saw in a vision openly, as it were about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in unto him, and saying to him, Cornelius.
4 And he, fastening his eyes upon him, and being affrighted, said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are gone up for a memorial before God.
5 And now send men to Joppa, and fetch one Simon, who is surnamed Peter:
6 he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side.
7 And when the angel that spake unto him was departed, he called two of his household-servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;
8 and having rehearsed all things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
9 Now on the morrow, as they were on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour:
10 and he became hungry, and desired to eat: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance;
11 and he beholdeth the heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending, as it were a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth:
12 wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts and creeping things of the earth and birds of the heaven.
13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill and eat.
14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common and unclean.
15 And a voice came unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, make not thou common.
16 And this was done thrice: and straightway the vessel was received up into heaven.
17 Now while Peter was much perplexed in himself what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold, the men that were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood before the gate,
18 and called and asked whether Simon, who was surnamed Peter, were lodging there.
19 And while Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
20 But arise, and get thee down, and go with them, nothing doubting: for I have sent them.
21 And Peter went down to the men, and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
22 And they said, Cornelius a centurion, a righteous man and one that feareth God, and well reported of by all the nation of the Jews, was warned of God by a holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words from thee.
23 So he called them in and lodged them. And on the morrow he arose and went forth with them, and certain of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
24 And on the morrow they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius was waiting for them, having called together his kinsmen and his near friends.
25 And when it came to pass that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
26 But Peter raised him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and findeth many come together:
28 and he said unto them, Ye yourselves know how it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to join himself or come unto one of another nation; and yet unto me hath God showed that I should not call any man common or unclean:
29 wherefore also I came without gainsaying, when I was sent for. I ask therefore with what intent ye sent for me.
30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago, until this hour, I was keeping the ninth hour of prayer in my house; and behold, a man stood before me in bright apparel,
31 and saith, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call unto thee Simon, who is surnamed Peter; he lodgeth in the house of Simon a tanner, by the sea side.
33 Forthwith therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore we are all here present in the sight of God, to hear all things that have been commanded thee of the Lord.
34 And Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him.
36 The word which he sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all.) –
37 that saying ye yourselves know, which was published throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
38 even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom also they slew, hanging him on a tree.
40 Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest,
41 not to all the people, but unto witnesses that were chosen before of God, even to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
42 And he charged us to preach unto the people, and to testify that this is he who is ordained of God to be the Judge of the living and the dead.
43 To him bear all the prophets witness, that through his name every one that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins.
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them that heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision that believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid the water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
1 Now the apostles and the brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.
2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
3 saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
4 But Peter began, and expounded the matter unto them in order, saying,
5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, a certain vessel descending, as it were a great sheet let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even unto me:
6 upon which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw the fourfooted beasts of the earth and wild beasts and creeping things and birds of the heaven.
7 And I heard also a voice saying unto me, Rise, Peter; kill and eat.
8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath ever entered into my mouth.
9 But a voice answered the second time out of heaven, What God hath cleansed, make not thou common.
10 And this was done thrice: and all were drawn up again into heaven.
11 And behold, forthwith three men stood before the house in which we were, having been sent from Caesarea unto me.
12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, making no distinction. And these six brethren also accompanied me; and we entered into the man’s house:
13 and he told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, Send to Joppa, and fetch Simon, whose surname is Peter;
14 who shall speak unto thee words, whereby thou shalt be saved, thou and all thy house.
15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning.
16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
17 If then God gave unto them the like gift as he did also unto us, when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I could withstand God?
18 And when they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then to the Gentiles also hath God granted repentance unto life.
19 They therefore that were scattered abroad upon the tribulation that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, and Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to none save only to Jews.
20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus.
21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number that believed turned unto the Lord.
22 And the report concerning them came to the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas as far as Antioch:
23 who, when he was come, and had seen the grace of God, was glad; and he exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord:
24 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
25 And he went forth to Tarsus to seek for Saul;
26 and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that even for a whole year they were gathered together with the church, and taught much people, and that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
27 Now in these days there came down prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.
28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be a great famine over all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius.
29 And the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren that dwelt in Judea:
30 which also they did, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
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