Daily Devotional: Saturday 21st March

by William Moody

Acts 9:23–31

Saul Escapes from Damascus

23 When many days had passed, the Jews1 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,2 lowering him in a basket.

Saul in Jerusalem

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.3 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.

Footnotes

[1] 9:23 The Greek word Ioudaioi refers specifically here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, who opposed the Christian faith in that time
[2] 9:25 Greek through the wall
[3] 9:29 That is, Greek-speaking Jews

(ESV)

Becoming a follower of Christ comes at a cost for Saul (v23-24). They would have seen his conversion as a betrayal of his people and his faith, and they were determined to kill him. We need to understand that the natural opposition of the unsaved to the Gospel is deep and strong. Today it might be covered by a veneer of respectability and restraint but it is still there.

Saul’s new friends deliver him (v25). This is not the way he would have imagined leaving Damascus, but even so he did leave in a much better position, in now being right with the Lord.

Saul was not immediately welcomed with open arms into the Jerusalem fellowship (v26-27). We all need people like Barnabas in our lives and in our church. We need those of a generous spirit who are willing to take  a  risk  on people. Have you a warm welcoming spirit within your church to outsiders?

Saul continues to speak for Christ and he also continues to face threats on his life (v28-30). Saul’s conversion brought about a great change for the church (v31). When the church is struggling nothing will help it more than sinners being converted. Pray for such conversions now.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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