Day 14 - Concord Student Journey
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
23 After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews,[a] but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
Aeneas and Dorcas
32 As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. 34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.
The book of Acts in the Bible gives us a glimpse of the early Christian Church and the lives of the apostles who shared the gospel message. In this passage, we see the story of Saul, who later became known as the apostle Paul. Saul was a devout Jew who fiercely persecuted Christians, but after encountering the risen Christ, his life was transformed, and he became a passionate preacher of the gospel.
In Acts 9:20-43, we read about the impact of Paul's conversion on the people around him. Paul began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God, and many who heard him were amazed and believed in the Lord. Paul's transformation from a persecutor of Christians to a preacher of the gospel is a powerful example of the transformative power of God's grace.
Reflection Question 1: What areas in my life do I need God's transformative grace? Is there any habit, attitude, or behavior that needs to be changed?
The passage also tells us about two miracles that Peter performed in Joppa. The first was the healing of Aeneas, a man who had been paralyzed for eight years. The second was the raising of Tabitha, a beloved disciple, from the dead. These miracles show us that God's power is not limited to spiritual transformation but also extends to physical healing and restoration.
Reflection Question 2: Have I experienced God's healing and restoration in my life? How can I share this testimony with others to encourage them in their faith?
In conclusion, the story of Saul's transformation and the miracles performed by Peter remind us that God's grace is powerful and transformative. We need to open our hearts to receive God's grace and allow it to work in our lives. Let us be encouraged to seek God's transformative grace and share our testimonies with others.
Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for your transformative grace that can change our lives. Help us to be open to your grace and allow it to work in us. May we share our testimonies with others to encourage them in their faith. Amen.