Act 9:1 ¶ And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and
slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto
the High Priest,
COMMENT: This is the same office of the
High Priest that
engineered the crucifixion of Christ and raged against the life
of Stephen whom he and his Council murdered in the name of
their dead practices of the faith; and he was undoubtedly
pleased to have such a zealous servant as Saul "breathing out
threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord"
for the contention between the old dead religion and the new
revived faith, the one side exemplifying wickedness; the other
the righteousness of Christ in them. Saul was the foremost
of all the persecutors. So he went to the High Priest,...
Act 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues,
that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women,
he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
COMMENT: The High Priest was more than the
spiritual head of Israel, unlike other religions;
he had the authority and power to
police religious practices in Israel along the lines of
Moses, David and Solomon who ruled over the theocracy
in times past when righteousness was manifest by the Spirit of
God. But the theocracy of Saul's times had a Roman governor
ruling with life and death power over Israel so the people had
two contrary governments and Saul was numbered among the elite
rulers of the Pharisee sect.
Act 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and
suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
COMMENT: It is inferred by Saul's journey to
Damascus that he was traveling with letters from the High Priest
authorizing him to arrest believers in the Lord Jesus Christ when
along the way near to Damascus there suddenly shined round about him
a light from heaven. The way we come to understand this inference
is (1) nothing more is said in the context of the matter; and silence
is taken to be loud in the Scriptures. (2) Secondly, Saul was on his
way immediately to Damascus which he had in mind to police. But he was
intercepted along the way by the Lord of glory.
Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice
saying unto him, "Saul, Saul, why
are you persecuting me?"
COMMENT: The Lord takes it personally when
his people are persecuted telling us in Holy Scripture, "THAT WHICH
YOU DO UNTO THE LEAST OF THESE, YOU DO UNTO ME." So the
Prince of peace spoke majestically out of the
blinding Light to Saul saying, "Saul, Saul, why
are you persecuting me?" But "NO MAN HAS EVER SEEN GOD," so
Saul was unable to look upon the man in the blinding vision
that would have shined brighter than the sun at noon in a
Act 9:5 And he said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord
said, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting: It is hard for
you to kick against the pricks.
COMMENT: Saul was a master of theology and
a zealot for the religion of the Jews. We know by faith the Lord
sees the hearts of men. He knew Saul was knowledgeable in the
history of Israel and would recognize a divine visitation. The
Lord also knew Saul was frustrated in his war against
believers in Christ so he spoke out of the Light majestically
telling him it was hard to kick against the pricks, that even
with the power to arrest believers they were multiplying
everywhere. The totality of the divine visitation instantly
convinced Saul it was the Son of the God of Israel. This
Jesus whom he was at war with because he was supposedly just
a man was indeed God as multitudes of believers were saying
even if it cost them their lives. The princely majesty and
insightfulness of the Lord shining round about him was the
irresistible persuasion Saul needed to get past his religious
Act 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord,
what will you have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him,
"Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told to you what
you must do."
COMMENT: Saul was shaken by the power of
the visitation and of the enormous revelation of his own errors
in persecuting believers to where he "trembling and astonished"
submited to the Lord who let it be known he should proceed
into the city where he would be told what "HE MUST DO."
There was no further question of who Saul would serve. The Lord
is the beginning and end of all things. Saul had been given a
new beginning. Jesus was no longer a mute theological pretzel.
He was the angel of the Lord who visited Moses in the burning
Act 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless,
hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
COMMENT: Here we find more to the inference
Saul had received letters from the High Priest empowering him to
arrest more believers and bring them to trail in Jerusalem where
the persecution had turned bloody with the stoning of Stephen.
Saul was accompanied by " men which journeyed with him"
who were probably going to assist in making the arrests;
and they "seeing no man" suggests they did not see the Lord
appear in glory because we find they were not blinded, but they
heard a voice speaking to Saul as he answered after falling to
the ground. So they knew something divine was taking place.
Had they not been allowed to hear a voice speaking to Saul, they
might have thought he had lost his mind.
Act 9:8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes
were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand,
and brought [him] into Damascus.
COMMENT: His companions were not blinded.
The divine visitation was not to them as much as it was
to Saul; so they
were able to lead him by the hand into Damascus.
Act 9:9 And he was three days without sight, and neither
did eat nor drink.
COMMENT: Saul was fasting from food and
water. He was blind and did not know if his sight would ever be
returned to him. There was no doubt in Saul's mind he was
guilty before God for the persecution of true believers
and his career as a Pharisee was in jeopardy. What the Lord
of glory was going to do with him, he did not know. It was
in a perilous situation he sought the Lord for mercy and for
Act 9:10 ¶ And there was a certain disciple at Damascus,
named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, "Ananias."
And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord.
COMMENT: Ananias is the same name, but not the same
person who dropped dead at the feet of Saint Peter for lying to
the Holy Ghost. This Ananias was focused on the Lord spiritually
as a set apart disciple
when a vision of the Lord appeared to his him in his consciousness
speaking his name, and Ananias responded even as Eli taught young
Samuel to respond in Old Testament times, saying: "Behold,
I am here Lord."
Act 9:11/12 And the Lord said unto him,
"Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight,
and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul,
of Tarsus: for, behold, he is praying, and has seen in
a vision a man named Ananias
coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might
receive his sight.
COMMENT: The house of Judas has nothing to
do with Judas who betrayed Jesus, ...if it did; the author of the
book of Acts would have told us. But Judas was apparently
a common name in those days.
Saul who was born in Tarsus was
not only abstaining from food and drink, he was praying. Saul
knew who to pray to now and he wasted no time in attempting
to make his peace with the Lord of glory who had visited him
with such awesomeness as few men have ever seen Jesus in this world.
And the Lord of glory had already given Saul a vision
of his disciple Ananias going in to Saul to lay a hand on
him that he might receive his sight. In telling Ananias of the
vision he had already given Saul, he was letting him
know the deed was already predestined to be done, nonetheless
Saul was well known as a persecutor of the Saints; so
Ananias voiced his concern.
Act 9:13/14 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many
of this man, how much evil he has done to your Saints at Jerusalem:
And here he has authority from the Chief Priests to bind all
that call on your name.
COMMENT: Now the inferences we interpreted
from two previous verses in this chapter suggesting Saul was
traveling with letters of authority from the Chief Priests to
arrest all believers in the Lord is now fact. So for those readers
who desire to sharpen your abilities in the interpretation of
holy Scripture, read again through this chapter to see how
we came to the interpretation by inferences before Scripture
confirmed it as fact here in Acts 9:13/14 that Saul had been
given those letters he sought from the Chief Priests and companions
besides to help him arrest believers and bring them bound to
Jerusalem for trial. So the concerns of Ananias were real:
Act 9:15/16 But the Lord said unto him, Go your way:
for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before
the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
For I will shew him how GREAT THINGS he must suffer for
my name's sake.
COMMENT: The Lord is the Prince of peace and
the Light of the world. He understands our concerns
if we will only speak the truth from
our hearts to others in this life; we will come to the day when
that practice will serve us well to speak the truth from our heart
to him if we should grow sufficiently in the Spirit to where he
would visit us, and in doing so; Ananias received a clear
answer as to the Lord's workings in Saul who would be no further danger to
Ananias or any other believer in Christ.
Act 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house;
and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord,
[even] Jesus, that appeared unto you in the way as you came,
has sent me, that you might receive your sight, and be
filled with the Holy Ghost.
COMMENT: In the earlier text we were told
Saul had seen Ananias in a vision come in and lay a hand on
him. In Acts 9:17 we find Ananias "putting his hands (plural)
on Saul. In interpreting Holy Scripture, both are to be taken
as truths. We are to understand Ananias first put one hand on
Saul then both hands, for NO SCRIPTURE IS TO BE TAKEN
AS A FALSEHOOD IN ANY WAY. In other words, the use of hands does
not overright the laying on of a hand; but adds an action
sequence to the testimony.
We also find more taking place in Acts 9:17 than we were previously
told in the inter-action between the Lord and Ananias in the vision.
Ananias comes in fully informed of the fact Saul was visited on
the Damascus Road, and we also find Ananias comes to do more than
what we originally read he would do. For now he not only tells
Saul he is there to give him sight but he is to be filled with
the Holy Ghost.
Now Saul was not yet trained in the spiritual realm as the Apostles
out of the 120 of the Lord's followers in Jerusalem, so he receives
the Holy Ghost, but this ought not to be confused with the
baptism of the Holy Ghost they all received on Pentecost to where
they were able to speak in tongues supernaturally and fish in
3000 devout Hebrew men there. Saul was trained in the Scriptures
the masters of the law. He now had the incorruptibe seed of the
Holy Ghost working in him to come to a much better understanding
of the Word of God, but there was much work for him to do to
prepare himself to serve the Lord with the mind of Christ.
Act 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had
been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and
was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was
strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples
which were at Damascus.
COMMENT: Now Saul was a believer, but more
than an ordinary believer; for he spent time with the disciples
which were at Damascus and by disciples we are to understand
those whose lives were set apart unto God.
Act 9:20 ¶ And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
COMMENT: Here we see the wisdom of God in
choosing a man such as Saul who was absolutely committed to
whatever he did. He was bold and aggressive
as a Pharisee and now served God as a novice disciple preaching
Christ in the synagogues.
Act 9:21/22 But all that heard [him] were amazed, and said;
Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name
in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might
bring them bound unto the Chief Priests?
But Saul increased the more in strength, and
confounded the Jews which dwelled at Damascus, proving that
this is very Christ.
COMMENT: "KNOWLEDGE INCREASES STRENGTH,"
and Saul was increasing in knowledge to where he could confound
the Jews who lived at Damascus proving
Christ to them from the Scriptures.
Act 9:23 ¶ And after that many days were fulfilled, the
Jews took counsel to kill him:
COMMENT: The Jewish people tend to move
corporately rather than independently, so Saul being new to his
role as a preacher of Christ was not as powerful as he would
become later; and they being confounded at first; came into
agreement among themselves to deny Christ and kill Saul
lest they should become outcasts from their ancient religion.
Act 9:24/25 But their laying await was known of Saul.
And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.
Then the disciples took him by night, and
let [him] down by the wall in a basket.
COMMENT: Now the percutor had become
persecuted. Saul was not naive regarding the deadliness of
the persecution against believers, so he was vigilant for his
life as you also be in the daily spiritual warfare that takes
place in this world; though secular employment does not
stir it up like the preaching of the Word does.
Act 9:26 ¶ And when Saul was come to Jerusalem,
he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they
were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
COMMENT: Would you believe your persecutor
was your friend? The disciples in Jerusalem had no reason to
believe their persecutor was one of them. It had to be a
deception they said among themselves. A trick to get in among
them and identify them all. Who would ever imagine God Almighty
would have visited Saul on the road to Damascus?
Act 9:27 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 he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
COMMENT: But Barnabas, you'll remember; sold
possessions and laid all of the money at the feet of the Apostles.
They had no reason to not trust him. He was living a holy life and
was certainly one of them. He apparently took note of this fellow
Saul after he attempted to join himself to the disciples in
Jerusalem, and perceived he was now of God. Now that he knew
the whole story, he brought Saul to the Apostles who were
greater in discernment than the disciples and they believed
Saul's conversion knowing the power of God better than the others.
Act 9:28 And he was with them coming in and going out
COMMENT: Saul now had access to the Apostles
and was full time in the work of the Lord coming and going to and
Act 9:29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus,
and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.
COMMENT: There was apparently a community of
Greeks at Jerusalem in those days. Keep in mind historically,
that after Alexander the Great Greek King conquered the known world,
his four generals divided it up among themselves; and this may
explain a Greek community there in Jerusalem. Whatever the case,
they were sinners and taking their cue from the persecution already
in effect, they too went about to slay him no doubt thinking to
do the Chief Priests a favor.
Act 9:30 [Which] when the brethren knew, they brought
him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
COMMENT: Once it was known among the believers
that Saul's life was in danger, they endeared themselves to him
by delivering him to Caesarea and sent him forth to Tarsus.
By this means Saul's love for the saved was undoubtedly greatly
increased as you might imagine were all of God's people truly
involved in the dangers of preaching his Word today, not just
from behind the safety of the pulpits; but in the public.
Act 9:31 ¶ Then had the churches rest throughout all
Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and
walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort
of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
COMMENT: The persecution against believers
calmed down now that Saul was serving the Lord and those who
would persecute them were unable to succeed in doing violence to
them for the time.
Act 9:32 ¶ And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout
all [quarters], he came down also to the Saints which
dwelled at Lydda. And there he found a certain man named
Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick
of the palsy.
COMMENT: Now we return to the works the
Apostle Peter was doing in those days which you can be sure he did
not cease doing while the story was told of Saul's conversion.
And again Peter was used of God to heal a man.
Act 9:34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas,
Jesus Christ makes you whole: arise, and make
your bed. And he arose immediately.
And all that dwelled at Lydda and Saron saw him,
and turned to the Lord.
COMMENT: The Saints already there had
undoubtedly sowed the Word of God in Lydda, but the healing
had a much greater impact with Peter shining like an angel
among the population there, they all turned to the Lord.
Act 9:36/37 ¶ Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple
named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas:
this woman was full of good works and alms deeds which she did.
And it came to pass in those days, that she
was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid
[her] in an upper chamber.
COMMENT: We hear in Holy Scripture how our
works follow after us, but how much more rapidly do they follow
after a Tabitha who was "full of good works and alms deeds"
to have her raised from the dead since she was of such great
value to the community at Joppa.
Act 9:38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa,
and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they
sent unto him two men, desiring [him] that he would not
delay to come to them.
COMMENT: Saint Peter was at Lydda which was
near to Joppa, so the disciples sent unto him two men to let him
know he was needed right away before Tabitha's body went into
decay from death.
Act 9:39/40 Then Peter arose and went with them.
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. But Peter put them all forth,
and kneeled down, and prayed. and turning to
the body said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes:
and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
COMMENT: You will notice Saint Peter did not
have to check with his appointment book for the next couple of weeks
or months but immediately went with them. We find all of the widows
in Joppa pleading with Saint Peter's heart as they showed him
the coats and garments Tabitha made for them free of any charge
and without the offense of arrogance in giving so often found in this
world in benefactors. None of the recipients were absent.
All of the coats and garments made by her were of the best quality
and were in good taste morally. By all of this evidence,
and the witness of the Spirit within;
Saint Peter knew he was in the right place at the right time, so
he "put them all" out of the room "and kneeled down, and prayed,"
and commanded Tabitha to arise which she did, for she was not dead;
but was absent from the body. By the power of God in him, Saint
Peter simply commanded her back into her body though we hear nothing
of this kind of communication in the raising of Lazarus by the
Lord or here in the Lord raising Tabitha from the dead. If there
is a secret command, you would not find it in the text. Those
things area reserved for rare holy men of Peter's calibre who is
in league with Elijah and other great prophets.
Act 9:41/42 And he gave her [his] hand, and lifted her up,
and when he had called the Saints and widows, presented her
alive. And it was known throughout all Joppa;
and many believed in the Lord.
COMMENT: Once again, Saint Peter's healings
are used of God to fuel the holy Revolution taking place in Israel
and "many believed in the Lord" in Joppa.
Act 9:43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days
in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
COMMENT: Peter availed himself of Simon the
tanner's hospitality who worked with leather. There the great
Saint "tarried many days in Joppa" where he was able to focus
on prayers and fastings and other disciplines of the spiritual