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Acts Reading Plan | Week 8 | Day 2
Pause. Take a breath in and release it slowly. Take a moment to give Jesus your troubles today. Open your hands and offer them up to Him. Ask Him to put in your hands his peace and strength.
Bible Reading: Acts 9:19-31
Read these verses three times slowly.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 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?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
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. 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. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him.When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
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.
Reflection & Questions
Saul had a lot of baggage to deal with when Jesus saved him. His reputation went before him wherever he went. “Isn’t this the man who…” was spoken behind his back and even to his face. And they weren’t lying. Saul had done terrible things to believers. But that was before God had gotten a hold of his life.
As tempting as it might have been after he met Jesus, Saul didn’t live as a hermit, ashamed of his previous life. No. Jesus had saved him. Jesus had wiped that sin and shame away. Jesus had given him a mission. In fact, Jesus had become such a passion for Saul, that in spite of the obstacles, shame, and even death threats, he “preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.” Amazing.
As we consider the passion of Saul for Jesus, it’s good to reflect on our own passion. If our minds are set on our own (lack of) worthiness, qualifications or gifting, our passion for Jesus will likely fizzle out as we face obstacles, shame or persecution.
But, if we think about who Jesus is… if we think about how He has completely saved us, changed us, and loves us deeply… if we think about the mission and purpose that HE has qualified us for… then the passion for being on mission for Him will be ignited in a whole new way!
- Do you have to deal with comments like Saul did: “Isn’t this the man who…?” “Isn’t this the woman who… ?” What can you learn from Saul?
- What level would you say your passion for Jesus is? Why?
Talk to God in response to the reading today.
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
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