Saul Becomes a Follower of the Lord
(Acts 22.6-16; 26.12-18)
1Saul kept on threatening to kill the Lord's followers. He even went to the high priest 2and asked for letters to the leaders of the synagogues in Damascus. He did this because he wanted to arrest and take to Jerusalem any man or woman who had accepted the Lord's Way. 3When Saul had almost reached Damascus, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul! Saul! Why are you so cruel to me?”
5“Who are you?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus,” the Lord answered. “I am the one you are so cruel to. 6Now get up and go into the city, where you will be told what to do.”
7 The men with Saul stood there speechless. They had heard the voice, but they had not seen anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground, and when he opened his eyes, he could not see a thing. Someone then led him by the hand to Damascus, 9and for three days he was blind and did not eat or drink.
10A follower named Ananias lived in Damascus, and the Lord spoke to him in a vision. Ananias answered, “Lord, here I am.”
11The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the house of Judas on Straight Street. When you get there, you will find a man named Saul from the city of Tarsus. Saul is praying, 12and he has seen a vision. He saw a man named Ananias coming to him and putting his hands on him, so he could see again.”
13Ananias replied, “Lord, a lot of people have told me about the terrible things this man has done to your followers in Jerusalem. 14Now the chief priests have given him the power to come here and arrest anyone who worships in your name.”
15The Lord said to Ananias, “Go! I have chosen him to tell foreigners, kings, and the people of Israel about me. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for worshiping in my name.”
17Ananias left and went into the house where Saul was staying. Ananias placed his hands on him and said, “Saul, the Lord Jesus has sent me. He is the same one who appeared to you along the road. He wants you to be able to see and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 Suddenly something like fish scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see. He got up and was baptized. 19Then he ate and felt much better.
Saul Preaches in Damascus
For several days Saul stayed with the Lord's followers in Damascus. 20Soon he went to the synagogues and started telling people that Jesus is the Son of God. 21Everyone who heard Saul was amazed and said, “Isn't this the man who caused so much trouble for those people in Jerusalem who worship in the name of Jesus? Didn't he come here to arrest them and take them to the chief priests?”
22Saul preached with such power that he completely confused the Jewish people in Damascus, as he tried to show them that Jesus is the Messiah.
23 Later some of them made plans to kill Saul, 24but he found out about it. He learned that they were guarding the gates of the city day and night in order to kill him. 25Then one night his followers let him down over the city wall in a large basket.
Saul in Jerusalem
26When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the followers. But they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe he was a true follower. 27Then Barnabas helped him by taking him to the apostles. He explained how Saul had seen the Lord and how the Lord had spoken to him. Barnabas also said when Saul was in Damascus, he had spoken bravely in the name of Jesus.
28Saul moved about freely with the followers in Jerusalem and told everyone about the Lord. 29He was always arguing with the Jews who spoke Greek, and so they tried to kill him. 30But the followers found out about this and took Saul to Caesarea. From there they sent him to the city of Tarsus.
31The church in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria now had a time of peace and kept on worshiping the Lord. The church became stronger, as the Holy Spirit encouraged it and helped it grow.
Peter Heals Aeneas
32While Peter was traveling from place to place, he visited the Lord's followers who lived in the town of Lydda. 33There he met a man named Aeneas, who for eight years had been sick in bed and could not move. 34Peter said to Aeneas, “Jesus Christ has healed you! Get up and make up your bed.” At once he stood up.
35Many people in the towns of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas and became followers of the Lord.
Peter Brings Dorcas Back to Life
36In Joppa there was a follower named Tabitha. Her Greek name was Dorcas, which means “deer.” She was always doing good things for people and had given much to the poor. 37But she got sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38Joppa wasn't far from Lydda, and the followers heard that Peter was there. They sent two men to say to him, “Please come with us as quickly as you can!” 39At once, Peter went with them.
The men took Peter upstairs into the room. Many widows were there crying. They showed him the coats and clothes that Dorcas had made while she was still alive.
40After Peter had sent everyone out of the room, he knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the body of Dorcas and said, “Tabitha, get up!” The woman opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet.
Peter called in the widows and the other followers and showed them that Dorcas had been raised from death. 42Everyone in Joppa heard what had happened, and many of them put their faith in the Lord. 43Peter stayed on for a while in Joppa in the house of a man named Simon, who made leather.