The Jews in Damascus were confused (Acts 9:22)

“Saul became

Increasingly more powerful.

He confounded the Jews

Who lived in Damascus

By proving that Jesus

Was the Christ,

The Messiah.”

Σαῦλος δὲ μᾶλλον ἐνεδυναμοῦτο καὶ συνέχυννεν Ἰουδαίους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐν Δαμασκῷ, συμβιβάζων ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Χριστός.

The author of Acts indicated that Saul (Σαῦλος) became increasingly more powerful (δὲ μᾶλλον ἐνεδυναμοῦτο).  He confounded (καὶ συνέχυννεν) the Jews (Ἰουδαίους τοὺς) who lived (κατοικοῦντας) in Damascus (ἐν Δαμασκῷ) by proving (συμβιβάζων) that Jesus was the Christ (ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Χριστός), the Messiah.  Saul was changing the expectations of the Jewish community in Damascus.  He kept talking about Jesus, the Christ, as the expected Messiah.  The Damascus Jewish people thought that he was opposed to this new Jewish Jesus movement, not in favor of it.  Do you know someone who changed their opinion or beliefs?

They were amazed (Acts 9:21)

“All who heard Saul

Were amazed.

They said.

‘Is not this the man

Who made havoc

Among those

Who invoked this name

In Jerusalem?

Has he not come here

For the purpose

Of bringing them bound

Before the chief priests?’”

ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες καὶ ἔλεγον Οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ πορθήσας εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ τοὺς ἐπικαλουμένους τὸ ὄνομα τοῦτο, καὶ ὧδε εἰς τοῦτο ἐληλύθει, ἵνα δεδεμένους αὐτοὺς ἀγάγῃ ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς;

The author of Acts indicated that all who heard (δὲ πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες) Saul were amazed (ἐξίσταντο).  They asked (καὶ ἔλεγον) if this was not the same man (Οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν) who had made havoc (ὁ πορθήσας) among those in Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ) who invoked (ἐπικαλουμένους) the name of Jesus (τὸ ὄνομα τοῦτο)?  Had he not come there (καὶ ὧδε εἰς τοῦτο ἐληλύθει) for the purpose (ἵνα) of bringing them (αὐτοὺς ἀγάγῃ) bound (δεδεμένους) before the chief priests (ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς)?  Once again, there is a reference to the original mission of Saul to gather up and bring the followers of Jesus to justice in Jerusalem, as indicated earlier in this chapter, 9:1-2.  The Jews in Damascus wondered if this was the same person.  He was supposed to be against the followers of Jesus, but now he seemed like he was a follower of Jesus himself.  Have you ever made a drastic change in your life?

Saul proclaims Jesus (Acts 9:20)

“Immediately,

Saul began

To proclaim Jesus

In the synagogues.

He said.

‘Jesus is the Son of God.’”

καὶ εὐθέως ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς ἐκήρυσσεν τὸν Ἰησοῦν, ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ.

The author of Acts indicated that immediately (καὶ εὐθέως), Saul began to proclaim (ἐκήρυσσεν) Jesus (τὸν Ἰησοῦν) in the synagogues (ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς) of Damascus.  He said that Jesus is the Son of God (ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Only Acts, chapter 26:20, mentioned his preaching in Damascus.  Acts, chapter 22, did not mention him staying in Damascus at all.  The Jewish synagogues were just beginning to become important as centers of fellowship, worship, and learning.  Saul would continue his habit of first preaching in the synagogues any place that he visited.  This proclamation that Jesus is the Son of God would have been startling to the Jewish Sabbath worshipers in the Damascus synagogues.  Would you go to a Jewish synagogue and say that Jesus is the Son of God?

Saul stayed in Damascus (Acts 9:19)

“After taking some food,

Saul regained

His strength.

For several days,

He was with the disciples

In Damascus.”

καὶ λαβὼν τροφὴν ἐνίσχυσεν. Ἐγένετο δὲ μετὰ τῶν ἐν Δαμασκῷ μαθητῶν ἡμέρας τινὰς,

The author of Acts indicated that after taking some food (καὶ λαβὼν τροφὴν), after his three day fast, Saul regained his strength or was invigorated (ἐνίσχυσεν).  For several days (ἡμέρας τινὰς), he was with (Ἐγένετο δὲ μετὰ) the disciples in Damascus (τῶν ἐν Δαμασκῷ μαθητῶν).  There was no mention of the exact amount of days.  Only Acts, chapter 26:20, mentioned his stay in Damascus.  Acts, chapter 22, did not mention him staying in Damascus at all.  Obviously, there were some disciples of Jesus in Damascus, so that Saul stayed with them for a short time.  Have you ever stayed with people who believed the same as you but were not your friends to start with?

Saul regained his sight (Acts 9:18)

“Immediately,

Something like scales

Fell from his eyes.

His sight was restored.

Then he got up.

Saul was baptized.”

καὶ εὐθέως ἀπέπεσαν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν ὡς λεπίδες, ἀνέβλεψέν τε, καὶ ἀναστὰς ἐβαπτίσθη,

The author of Acts indicated that immediately (καὶ εὐθέως), something like scales (ὡς λεπίδες,) fell (ἀπέπεσαν) from his eyes (αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν).  His sight was restored (ἀνέβλεψέν τε).  Then he got up (καὶ ἀναστὰς) and he was baptized (ἐβαπτίσθη).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used these two words λεπίδες, that means a scale of a fish, a scale, or a scaly substance from the body, and the word ἀπέπεσαν, that means to fall off or fall away.  There was nothing about scales on his eyes falling away in the other explanations by Saul of what happened to him.  In Acts 22:13, Saul said that “Ananias came to me (ἐλθὼν πρὸς ἐμὲ).  He stood by me (καὶ ἐπιστὰς).  He said to me (εἶπέν μοι), ‘Brother Saul (Σαοὺλ ἀδελφέ)!  Receive your sight (ἀνάβλεψον)!’  In that very hour (κἀγὼ αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ) I received my sight.  I saw him (ἀνέβλεψα εἰς αὐτόν).”  Then in Acts 22:16, Saul indicated that Ananias said. “Why do you wait (καὶ νῦν τί μέλλεις)?  Rise up (ἀναστὰς)!  Be baptized (βάπτισαι)!  Wash away your sins (καὶ ἀπόλουσαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας σου)!  Call on his name (ἐπικαλεσάμενος τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ)!”  In Acts 26, there was nothing about Saul’s blindness or being baptized.  Saul just received a mission from God.  The idea of scales on your eyes during blindness comes from Tobit, chapter 11:13, “With this he applied the medicine to his eyes.  It made them smart.  Next, with both his hands he peeled off the white films from the corners of his eyes.  Then Tobit saw his son.”  Ananias had cured Saul of his blindness, both physical and spiritual blindness.  Now he was baptized also.  Do you know anyone who was blind and then recovered their sight?

Ananias went to see Saul (Acts 9:17)

“Thus,

Ananias departed.

He entered the house.

He laid his hands

On Saul.

He said.

‘Brother Saul!

The Lord Jesus

Who appeared to you

On your way here,

Has sent me

That you may regain

Your sight

And be filled

With the Holy Spirit.’”

Ἀπῆλθεν δὲ Ἀνανίας καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν, καὶ ἐπιθεὶς ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας εἶπεν Σαοὺλ ἀδελφέ, ὁ Κύριος ἀπέσταλκέν με, Ἰησοῦς ὁ ὀφθείς σοι ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ᾗ ἤρχου, ὅπως ἀναβλέψῃς καὶ πλησθῇς Πνεύματος Ἁγίου.

The author of Acts indicated that Ananias departed (Ἀπῆλθεν δὲ Ἀνανίας) his house.  He entered (καὶ εἰσῆλθεν) into the house (εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν) where Saul was staying.  He laid his hands-on Saul (καὶ ἐπιθεὶς ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας).  He said (εἶπεν) to him, calling him Brother Saul (Σαοὺλ ἀδελφέ), that the Lord (ὁ Κύριος) Jesus (Ἰησοῦς), who had appeared to him (ὁ ὀφθείς σοι) on his way there (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ᾗ ἤρχου), had sent Ananias to help him regain his sight (ὅπως ἀναβλέψῃς) and be filled with the Holy Spirit (καὶ πλησθῇς Πνεύματος Ἁγίου).  Thus, Saul received both the physical restoration of sight and the gift of the Holy Spirit at the same time, before he was baptized, just like Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, in Luke, chapter 1:67.  Ananias entered the house and he laid his hands on Saul.  Thus, Saul got both his sight and the Holy Spirit.  After Saul’s sight was restored, then he was baptized.  There appears to be a bestowal of the Spirit before baptism.  In Acts 22:12-13, Ananias only cured Saul of his blindness, without any laying-on of hands upon him.  There was nothing about the Holy Spirit, but only the admonition that Saul be baptized.  In Acts, chapter 26, there was no mention of Saul’s blindness, the Holy Spirit, or baptism.  There was just a conversation between the Lord Jesus and Saul.  What is the role of the Holy Spirit in your life?

Saul must suffer for the name of Jesus (Acts 9:16)

“I myself

Will show Saul

How much

He must suffer

For the sake of my name.”

ἐγὼ γὰρ ὑποδείξω αὐτῷ ὅσα δεῖ αὐτὸν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματός μου παθεῖν.

The author of Acts indicated that the Lord continued that he himself would show Saul (ἐγὼ γὰρ ὑποδείξω αὐτῷ) how much he would (ὅσα δεῖ αὐτὸν) have to suffer (παθεῖν) for the sake of the name of Jesus (ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματός μου).  Once again, this vision of Ananias is only found here and not in the later personal speeches of Saul about his conversion in chapters 22 and 26, where there was nothing about Saul suffering for the name of Jesus.  In fact, Saul did suffer a lot during his time of spreading the word about Jesus.  Have you ever suffered for the name of Jesus?