Posted by / Thursday, 3 March 2016 / No comments

The conversion of Saul

THE CONVERSION OF SAUL (Acts 9:1-22)
After the death of Stephen, Saul, who also supported the killing of Stephen, continued to persecute the Christians. The disciples had fled, as a result to other cities for safety.

Saul got a letter of introduction from the High Priest to go and look for Christians who had fled to Damascus, in Syria, so that he might arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem.

As Paul approached Damascus, a bright light from heaven shown around him and those he was traveling with. Saul fell to the floor. He heard a voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul replied, “Who are you, Lord?” Then the voice said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city and you will be told what to do”.
When Saul stood up from the floor, he lost his eyesight. His traveling partners had to lead him by his hand into Damascus. For three days, he remained blind and did not eat nor drink. 

Around the same time, the Lord had appeared in a vision to Ananias and told him to go to the house of Judas in the street called ‘Straight’ and pray for Saul to receive his sight. Initially, Ananias did not want to go because he had heard about the way Saul was persecuting people. However, God assured him that he had chosen Saul as an instrument to carry his name to the Gentiles. 

Ananias went to Saul and laid his hand on him and prayed for him to receive his sight. Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he received his eyesight. Then Saul arose and was baptized. After that he ate some food and regained his strength. 

Immediately Saul preached Christ in the Synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God. Those who heard Saul preached, asked whether he was not the same person who had sought after the converts to arrest them and had followed them to Damascus? Saul did not mind them. He just continued preaching Christ. Saul stayed with the disciples in Damascus for some days. After some days, the people sought to kill him but he was smuggled out of the city.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SAUL’S EXPERIENCE
1. The experience transformed Saul from a persecutor of the church to a chief promoter of the gospel of Christ
2. Saul became God’s chief instrument in transformation of Christianity into a large gentile religion.   
3. After the conversion, the Christian community experienced a renewed peace throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria.
4. When Ananias addressed Saul as “Brother Saul” he was recognizing Saul as one of them, who had also been transformed by the same Jesus.
5. The experience confirms to Saul that the deity of Jesus was real and that he is the Messiah from God.
6. The experience transformed him from his former devotion to the Law to a complete devotion to Jesus Christ.

WAYS IN WHICH SAUL’S CONVERSION AFFECTED THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH
1.  The church enjoyed a new level of peace.
2.  It led to the expansion of the church.
3. Many people were converted to Christianity.
4. It led to the universality of the Church.

SAMPLE QUESTION
1. a. ”Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me”? Describe the circumstances that led to this question. Outline the events that took place after the quotation.
    b. In what two ways did the experience affect Saul’s life?
2. a. Narrate the story of the conversion of Saul.
    b. In which two ways did his conversion affect the growth of the Church? 
3. a. Describe the events of the conversion of Saul.
   b. In which three ways are leaders called in modern times?

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