9

Saul’s Conversion

1Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers.*9:1 Greek disciples.  So he went to the high priest. 2He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.

3As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

5“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.

And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! 8Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. 9He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink.

10Now there was a believer*9:10 Greek disciple; also in 9:26, 36.  in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord!” he replied.

11The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”

13“But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers*9:13 Greek God’s holy people; also in 9:32, 41.  in Jerusalem! 14And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”

15But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

17So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength.

Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem

Saul stayed with the believers*9:19 Greek disciples; also in 9:26, 38.  in Damascus for a few days. 20And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”

21All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?”

22Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. 23After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. 24They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. 25So during the night, some of the other believers*9:25 Greek his disciples.  lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall.

26When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! 27Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.

28So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29He debated with some Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. 30When the believers*9:30 Greek brothers.  heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown.

31The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.

Peter Heals Aeneas and Raises Dorcas

32Meanwhile, Peter traveled from place to place, and he came down to visit the believers in the town of Lydda. 33There he met a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. 34Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat!” And he was healed instantly. 35Then the whole population of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas walking around, and they turned to the Lord.

36There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas*9:36 The names Tabitha in Aramaic and Dorcas in Greek both mean “gazelle.” ). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. 37About this time she became ill and died. Her body was washed for burial and laid in an upstairs room. 38But the believers had heard that Peter was nearby at Lydda, so they sent two men to beg him, “Please come as soon as possible!”

39So Peter returned with them; and as soon as he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room. The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other clothes Dorcas had made for them. 40But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed. Turning to the body he said, “Get up, Tabitha.” And she opened her eyes! When she saw Peter, she sat up! 41He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the widows and all the believers, and he presented her to them alive.

42The news spread through the whole town, and many believed in the Lord. 43And Peter stayed a long time in Joppa, living with Simon, a tanner of hides.