And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Acts 9:10-12
Ananias was given a mission by The Lord, which many probably would have refused. He was called to baptize the same man who terrorized the Christians. As mentioned God can restore and use the worst of all sinners, Christ called Paul by name and made him Born Again
Paul was also given the vision of having Ananias restore his vision. God had a clear plan for Paul’s life, this “change of heart” was not by mistake or coincidental, Paul was called by Jesus to be a vessel for his Kingdom
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. Acts 9:13-16
Ananias expressed his concern with The Lord, this man Paul “has done much evil to Christians” however Jesus was stern “Go”! , Paul is a chosen vessel for Christ! But notice this calling is not going to be a walk in the park for Paul, Christ said “how much he will suffer in Jesus name” Paul had a great calling but it will also come at a great price!
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized Acts 9:17-18
Ananias put his hands on Paul as commanded by Christ, and he received the Holy Spirit. The scales fell from Paul’s eyes and now he is looking through the eyes of Christ. Were these literal scales or just figurative? Either way anyone who has become Born Again knows what its talking about. When you become Born Again in Christ, you see the world from a whole new perspective. You are now filled with the Holy Spirit, seeing things through the eyes of God
Paul’s conversion is a strong example of the grace of God and the spiritual rebirth through Jesus Christ. When you are called by name, you will never be the same Amen!
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Acts 9:3-5
Every Christian has that “Come To Jesus” moment, and Paul had his moment on the road to Damascus. While Paul was on his way to persecute more Christians, Jesus had different plans for Paul. As Paul literally saw the light and heard the Lord call him by name! Paul’s response was “Who are you Lord”? And Jesus revealed to Paul, Christ is the Lord, the same Lord you have been persecuting
This is the same for our conversions , Jesus has called us by name! Previously we were spending our days fighting against God, maybe not even realizing it, but Christ still loved us enough that he died for us even when we were still sinners!
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. Acts 9:6-8
Paul was humbled on the road to Damascus, before this conversion he was terrorizing Christians, now Paul was blinded by the light. He became humbled and realized that Jesus was really Lord and he had a new mission to complete. Notice Paul’s response to The Lords calling “What do you want me to do”? This should be our response also, let the Lords will be done!
And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. Acts 9:9
Obviously the transformation is not going to be easy, as Paul previously spent his days persecuting the Church, now Paul is part of the Church! This is how God works, he can take anyone and make them new again for his glory and purpose!
The Road to Damascus was meant to terrorize the Church , however it brought glory to God as we know Paul will go on to be one of the greatest preachers in Church history! Spreading the gospel to all the Gentile nations Amen!
And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. Acts 8:30-33
The Holy Spirit led Philip to talk to an Ethiopian eunuch, have you ever felt led by the Holy Spirit to talk to someone? The eunuch was reading Isaiah 53 and didn’t understand who the prophecy was talking about, notice the eunuch said to Philip “How can I understand, unless someone should guide me” This is why preaching is very important, we can’t assume everyone understands the Bible or knows Christ
The Bible is clear that the prophecy of Isaiah 53 was fulfilled by Jesus, when you read the detail and accuracy of the prophecy, it’s amazing that it was written over 700 years before Christ was born. What would have happened if Philip was not obedient to the Holy Spirit? The eunuch may have never known Christ or heard the gospel message, listen to the Holy Spirit and be obedient!
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? Acts 8:34-36
Who was Isaiah 53 written about? It was all about Jesus, and Philip shared the gospel with the eunuch based on Isaiah 53. If someone asks you to show them the gospel from the Old Testament, show them Isaiah 53! The eunuch understood the gospel and received Christ, now “What would prevent him from being baptized”? Nothing! Baptism is a profession of your faith in Jesus, if you believe you should be baptized!
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:37-39
The eunuch professed Christ as Lord and Philip baptised him. Some translations are missing verse 37 which doesn’t make sense. If you haven’t received and understood that Jesus is your Lord, then why would you get baptized? After the baptism the Holy Spirit removed Philip, and the eunuch went back to Ethiopia sharing the good news of Jesus Christ!
One obedience of the Holy Spirit probably transformed hundreds, many thousands of lives. Think about it, the eunuch , who had a high position of authority, probably went back to Ethiopia and preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone! Listen to the Holy Spirit, be obedient in Jesus Name , Amen!
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Acts 8:12-14
There was a sorcerer named Simon, he became very famous among the people performing magic. However when Philip came with the gospel and demonstrated signs and wonders via the Holy Spirit, Simon became jealous and wanted the power of the Holy Spirit. Little did Simon understand that this is not how God works. Many false prophets and teachers today try to mimic and blasphemy the Holy Spirit today
As Philip continued to preach the gospel many people came to Christ and were baptized. This generated such a buzz that the Apostles decided to come down to Samaria to see the revival that was happening
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. Acts 8:15-17
Now the interesting thing we see here is even though the believers were baptized with water, they were not yet baptized with the Holy Spirit as Jesus taught in John 3. The Apostles laid hands on the new believers and they were baptized by the Holy Spirit. There are two baptisms, the water and the spirit!
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Acts 8:18-20
Simon the sorcerer wanted the power of the Holy Spirit, he was a false convert. He didn’t really care about God, he just wanted the power of God. How many false converts do we still see today? Peter rebuked the sorcerer because Simon believed he could purchase God with money! Again we see the deity and sacredness of the Holy Spirit
Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Acts 8:21-23
Peter told Simon to repent of his sin, and his heart was not right with God. This is the difference between a true and false convert. Christianity is a heart issue, we must become Born Again with a clean heart through Christ!
God will not be mocked, we can’t pretend to be a Christian, God reads our hearts and minds. Examine yourself, and get right with God in Jesus name Amen!