20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
23 When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.
26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. 30 And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- v20: A few days after Saul’s conversion, Saul began preaching that Jesus is the Son of God. This shows us that Saul had a geniune conversion and was simply ready to proclaim the good news to everyone without fear or being worried about what people said or thought about his past.
- v21-22: Many people were astonished and asked one another to clarify if this Saul, who was preaching that Jesus is the Son of God—asking “wasn’t he the man who used to cause trouble and take away the believers?” Instead God continued to use Saul to prove that Jesus is Christ despite Saul’s old reputation. Miracles happen and this was an obvious one.
- v23-25: Many people were planning on killing Saul and kept a watchful eye on him, should he wish to escape. Saul was careful after discovering their plans and with the help of his followers, they helped him to escape by a basket being lowered down the wall (a basket was usually used to carry food in those days).
- v26-27: When Saul had arrived to Jerusalem, all the other disciples were afraid of him due to being cautious or skeptical over Saul’s conversion. They had reason to feel this way, afterall Saul used to be the leader of a lot the violence against Christians, so of course there were many who had prejudices against Saul. But it wasn’t until Barnabus testified and explained, did the other disciples finally trust Saul. At times we too are cautious and suspicious, we judge people by their outward appearances, but we are told not to judge for we too will be judged.
- v28: Saul stayed with them and “moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.” He was accepted amongst the disciples and was recognised now as a Christian, as he spoke boldly of the Lord, Saul was very open about his new faith.
submitted by Ansy Wong
PRAYING IN FAITH
Ask God to show you if there is an element of prejudice you have against another person, and instead to ask God to help you love and to have boldness in speaking words of love, truth and wisdom to them.
For your five
Pray that God will give you an opportunity this week to use you to speak to your five boldly: that Jesus is Lord—and that your five will accept this truth.
For our church
Pray that the church will pray more boldly, speak more boldly and boldly proclaim that Jesus is Lord. Pray that God will take away all pre-conceived prejudices we have against one another. And instead to show love just how Christ has shown love to us.