As chapter 8 opened, we had Saul of Tarsus (in Luke’s words) “ravaging the church,” literally dragging people out of their homes, and taking them to prison – all for being Christians. And thus began the scattering of the church to other regions. Chapter 9 opens with these two verses which speak volumes:
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
The statement in that opening phrase demonstrates the venomous heart Saul had against those who followed Jesus. He believed in his heart
that the disciples were blasphemous against God and all that he had been taught his whole life; and he wanted nothing less than to crush them. Having made a very good start at doing so in Jerusalem was no longer enough. Now he wanted to go to Damascus to hunt down those who had escaped to that location, as well as any who may have already been there. Verse two marks the first time the Bible refers to Christians as belonging to “the Way.” “The Way” was a name used for Christianity during those times. Luke uses the name in Acts (Acts 19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22).
On the way to Damascus, a bright light from heaven fell upon Saul — strong enough to bring him to the ground, and he was blinded. Jesus spoke to him, saying “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He was told to go into the city, where he would be told what to do. Verse 7 says that the men with him stood speechless, “hearing the voice but seeing no one.” This is another passage that skeptics try to use as a contradiction. Paul gives his own account of this in Acts 22:9, saying that those men “saw the light but did not understand the voice…” Ironically, such skeptics, by seeing this as a contradiction, prove that it is possible to hear (and read) without understanding.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here
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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.