Takeaway Verse: Acts 9:20
And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is indeed the Son of God!’
Welcome to The Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica Parkerson. This is the place where we meet up to read half a chapter of God’s Word together and remember how loved we are. Jesus extends an amazing invitation to us in the Bible. He says, come to me and I WILL give you rest. This is us RSVPing: Yes!! to that invitation. So, take a deep breath and let’s get started.
Today’s episode is called, “The Apostle Paul & Alice Cooper”. What could they possibly have in common? Well, I’ll tell you, can’t wait to dive into Acts chapter nine, the second half with you, but first, let’s go ahead and give this time to Jesus. Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus, and we just take a moment to soak in the beautiful knowledge that you are with us right now, no matter what you are going through. And we just rejoice today that you can take the hardest heart and soften it. We take hope in that today because there are people, Lord, who are on our heart, people who we want to believe in you. And so we remember their names today. Lord, I’ve got the names swimming up in my mind. I believe my friend who’s listening right now, who’s with us right now is thinking of someone. We give those precious people to you right now, knowing you can change any heart. Oh, we give you this time, Lord and pray that you would use it oh, my goodness for our good and your glory. In Jesus name, amen.
Okay. Last time we met, we took a little road trip together. Saul was on a mission. He was out there throwing Christians in jail, wanting them murdered just for what they believe in. And then Jesus met him on the road and called him to the ministry. And Saul was completely thrown off, you can imagine, right? Everything he knew suddenly turned upside down. So he fasted, he had nothing to eat or drink for three days. He got up, he was baptized, and he regained his strength. And now we’re gonna pick it up in Acts chapter nine, where Luke left off. Thank you, Lord, for sending Luke and calling him to write these things down.
We’re gonna pick it up in the second half of verse 19. “Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. And immediately” I love this, this is our takeaway verse, “immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is indeed the Son of God.'” Uh, this is so incredible to me that this man who was murdering people for their belief in Jesus now says, no, Jesus is the Son of God. You don’t understand, I’ve met him. That’s powerful. “All 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?’
“Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. After a while, some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. So during the night, some of the other believers lowered him in a large basket, through an opening in the city wall.”
He went from being a guy who was murdering Christians. To being somebody who is about to be murdered. It’s an unbelievable 180 story. “When 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! Then 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. So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. He debated with some Greek speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. When the believers heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown. The 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.”
It’s hard to imagine what it would be like as a believer, a follower of the Way. That’s what they called Christians at that time. It was a sect called the Way. And I love this because I was thinking who could be a modern person, that we would have a hard time believing turned into a believer? And I thought of Alice Cooper, you know, the rock star known for doing crazy things on stage. You can picture him with the makeup on his face, kind of like the black mascara dripping down. You can picture him in the leather, crazy hair, all these things. He is a believer in the Lord, Jesus. And he actually quotes Jesus when he says, “These are the most important words ever spoken.” He quotes Jesus’s words, here they are, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me.” So as we read these words and we go, wow, you know, it makes sense that the believers were afraid that Saul, who was murdering them, now is on their side. When I think of Alice Cooper being a Christian, I’m like, yeah, that’s I can see the similarities there. God can change anybody’s heart. He can soften the hardest heart. So take hope in that today. Till next time remember, there is hope and you are loved.
Thank you so much for listening to the Bible for Busy People. If you need prayer or you’re ready to go a little deeper in your faith, we’ve posted some resources for you in our show notes. We’d love for you to share this podcast with a friend and leave us a review. It helps us reach even more people with the hope of Jesus. This podcast is part of Purposely, a podcast network designed with practical podcasts to help you find and live in God’s purpose for your life. Find more podcasts that will recharge you at onpurposely.com.