Book 5 - THE ACTS of the APOSTLES
(Part 1 of 1 only, verses 1:1-11; 9:1-19)
WITH THE WORDS OF JESUS IN RED
1:1-3 - My Dear Theophilus, In my first book I gave you some account of all that Jesus began to do and teach until the time of his ascension. Before he ascended he gave his instructions, through the Holy Spirit, to the special messengers of his choice. For after his suffering he showed himself alive to them in many convincing ways, and appeared to them repeatedly over a period of forty days talking with them about the affairs of the kingdom of God.
Jesus' parting words before his ascension
1:4-11 - On one occasion, while he was eating a meal with them, he emphasised that they were not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father's promise.
"You have already heard me speak about this," he said, "for John used to baptise with water, but before many days are passed you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit."
This naturally brought them all together, and they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you are going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
To this he replied, "You cannot know times and dates which have been fixed by the Father's sole authority. But you are to be given power when the Holy Spirit has come to you. You will be witnesses to me, not only in Jerusalem, not only throughout Judea, not only in Samaria, but to the very ends of the earth!"
When he had said these words he was lifted up before their eyes till a cloud hid him from their sight. While they were still gazing up into the sky as he went, suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them and said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking up into the sky? This very Jesus who has been taken up from you into Heaven will come back in just the same way as you have seen him go."
The crisis for Saul
9:1-2 - But Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the High Priest and begged him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he should find there any followers of the Way, whether men or women, he could bring them back to Jerusalem as prisoners.
9:3-4 - But on his journey, as he neared Damascus, a light from Heaven suddenly blazed around him, and he fell to the ground. Then he heard a voice speaking to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
9:5 - "Who are you, Lord?" he asked.
9:6 - "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting," was the reply. "But now stand up and go into the city and there you will be told what you must do."
9:7-9 - His companions on the journey stood there speechless, for they had heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. There he remained sightless for three days, and during that time he had nothing either to eat or drink.
God's preparation for the converted Saul
9:10 - Now in Damascus there was a disciple by the name of Ananias. The Lord spoke to this man in a dream. calling him by his name. "I am here, Lord," he replied.
9:11-12 - Then the Lord said to him, "Get up and go down to the street called Straight, and enquire at the house of Judas for a man named Saul from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying and he sees in his mind's eye a man by the name of Ananias coming into the house, and placing his hands upon him to restore his sight."
9:13-14 - But Ananias replied, "Lord, I have heard on all hands about this man and how much harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem! Why even now he holds powers from the chief priests to arrest all who call upon your name."
9:15-16 - But the Lord said to him, "Go on your way, for this man is my chosen instrument to bear my name before the Gentiles and their kings, as well as to the sons of Israel. Indeed, I myself will show him what he must suffer for the sake of my name."
9:17 - Then Ananias set out and went to the house, and there he laid his hands upon Saul, and said, "Saul, brother, the Lord has sent me - Jesus who appeared to you on your journey here - so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
9:18-19 - Immediately something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got to his feet and was baptised. Then he took some food and regained his strength.
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