Acts 9:1-2 “…Saul…asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus…”
Saul made a name for himself by persecuting the churches in Jerusalem, breaking into homes and dragging people to prison. He’s decided to expand his reach by chasing some who have left the city and might be spreading this heresy to other synagogues. Jesus is about to step in.
3 “…suddenly a light shone around him from heaven”
Time of day isn’t mentioned here, but Paul relates in other places that it was about noon. No chance of a man-made light of that time being brighter than the sun. It had to be supernatural.
5 “…I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads”
Always struck me as odd. The two phrases didn’t seem to relate to the same thing until someone explained. Goads were spikes or other sharp instruments placed along the bottom leading edges of ox carts. They prevented the oxen from kicking the cart as they pulled it, causing a bit of pain when they tried. Jesus tells Saul he is persecuting Him although Saul thinks he is doing what God wants. He’s trying to go against what is right, kicking against the goads. Like a stubborn ox, he’s about to be straightened out.
6 “…Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Contrast with the replies of the sorcerer Simon. Saul’s heart was zealous for what he thought was God’s work. Being confronted by God Himself, he is completely obedient to what God has to say. He’s willing to abandon his plans for God’s.
7 “…men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one”
They weren’t blinded by the light, but apparently heard God’s voice or at least the sound of it. Paul says later that they didn’t hear the distinct words, just the thunder of the voice.
9 “…three days without sight…”
Commentary reminded me of the way time was calculated by the Jews. Would have been the rest of that day, the next day, and the next until Ananias visited him, not three complete twenty-four hour periods. One could say he received his sight on the third day after he was blinded. Same time rendering as at the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Crucified on Friday, resurrected on the third day, Sunday.
17 “…Ananias went his way…”
God asked Ananias to do something. Ananias didn’t give excuses, but did ask a pertinent question according to what he knew about Saul. God stayed firm in His instructions, but kindly answered Ananias’s question. I think we get hung up on questions. Not all questions mean a lack of faith or trust. God knows our hearts. He can tell the difference between a genuine question and an attack on His sovereignty. Once God answered, Ananias went, no arguments.
17 “…who appeared to you on the road as you came…”
Saul would realize that Jesus had spoken to Ananias as well as himself. Further credibility of his experience and vision.
18 “…there fell from his eyes something like scales…”
Luke says something fell from Saul’s eyes that was like scales, something that had been preventing his vision. We’ve no way of knowing what it was, only that God had placed them there from the point of the light experience until now. One commentary tries to say it wasn’t anything physical, that the restoration of his sight was like what would happen if scales were removed. I’m surprised that the commentator stretches the thought so much. I think Luke would have said exactly that if it were the case, but he does not.
20 “Immediately he preached the Christ…”
Proof of Saul’s heart. Once God showed him the truth, he saw how the scripture affirmed Jesus as the Christ and wasted no time proclaiming Him.
23 “…the Jews plotted to kill him”
Familiar tactic of the religious leaders. Kill what doesn’t agree with you.
29-30 “…disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him…sent him out to Tarsus”
Everywhere he goes, someone tries to kill him. Saul knew the scripture so well, it was no longer difficult for him to see the truth, and he was well equipped to argue the case for Christ from the Word. Was causing such a stir, the brethren decided it was best for him to return home for a time. All in God’s plan and timing.
32 “…Peter went through all parts of the country…”
Commentary suggests this wasn’t movement due to persecution, but Peter visiting the different churches in the country.
42 “…it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord”
Interesting that some can see a miracle and believe while others do not. I suppose it is a reflection of the heart, whether a heart is open to the things of God or closed up with selfishness. Perhaps this is the point between those who accept salvation and those who don’t. Not a case of providing enough proof or evidence of an argument, but the condition of the heart. While this may be true, we must never forget that only God can see this, it is our duty to always share the Gospel to everyone.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.