Chapter Nine — Part One: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 09/26/2021Foundation Scriptures:
1. Saul, the Pharisee.
a. Acts 9:1a KJV — And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord…
c. Saul was consumed with anger and hate and misdirected zeal.
d. In Philippians 3:5-6, he describes himself this way: “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”
e. He was determined to eradicate the Church and its message and exterminate the Christians by any means possible.
f. Wuest’s Translation says: And Saul, still breathing in a personally produced atmosphere of threatening and slaughter…
g. Acts 9:1b-2 KJV — … went unto the high priest. 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
h. The Sanhedrin claimed jurisdiction over all Jews, even those in other countries.
i. Saul was not commissioned to arrest Christians, but he took it upon himself to ask for permission to do so.
j. Instead, he was the one who was “arrested!”
2. The Road to Damascus.
a. Acts 9:3-4 KJV — And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
b. When the Lord really wants to get someone’s attention, He calls their name twice.
c. He made Saul aware that he was not just persecuting the Church, but he was persecuting Jesus Christ, Himself.
d. Matthew 25:40 NKJV — And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
e. Matthew 25:45 NKJV — Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
f. Jesus said that whatever a person does or does not do—whether good or bad—to one of the least of His children, it is as if it is done to or for Him.
g. And that person will be held accountable by Him, and either rewarded or punished.
3. Divine Intervention.
a. Only a divine intervention could stop Saul in his tracks.
b. No doubt, God had a plan for Saul’s life, and the fervent prayers of the saints must have also played a part in this divine encounter.
c. Acts 9:5a KJV — And he said, Who art thou, Lord?
d. He asked, and answered, his own question—calling Jesus, “Lord.”
e. It does not matter who you are, when Jesus shows up in power, you cannot help but be in awe of Him.
f. Acts 9:5b KJV — And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
g. Pricks (Greek – kentron) — a sting OR an iron goad, for urging on oxen, horses and other beasts of burden; hence the proverb, “to kick against the goad”, i.e. to offer vain and perilous or ruinous resistance.
h. Possibly, Saul was already feeling, and fighting, the conviction of the Spirit.
i. It does one no good to resist God—you only end up hurting yourself.
j. In Acts 26, Paul gives more details of what Jesus revealed to him that day.
k. Acts 26:15-18 KJV — And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
l. You could safely say that, through this encounter, Paul was convicted, converted, and called!
4. Supernatural Encounter.
a. Acts 9:6 KJV — 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.
b. In Jesus’ mighty presence, he does not argue, but asks what He wants him to do and he obeys.
c. Saul had really believed he was doing God’s work by persecuting the Church.
d. Once he was converted, he proceeded to preach the Gospel with the same zeal, passion, and commitment.
e. Acts 9:7 KJV — And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
f. The others with him did not see Jesus, as Saul did, but they heard Him, and were rendered speechless.
g. There was no doubt that it was a supernatural encounter.
h. Acts 9:8 KJV — 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.
i. Later, Paul elaborates in Acts 22.
j. Acts 22:11 KJV — And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.
k. He was blinded by the glory of God.
l. Acts 9:9 KJV — And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
m. It was such a powerful encounter, that he went three days with no food or water.