4th Sunday in July
"Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I (Paul) now offer to you." And when
they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more
quiet; and he said, "I (Paul) am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up
in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers,
being zealous for God, just as you all are today. And I persecuted this Way to the
death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest
and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters
to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who
were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished.
"And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime,
a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the
ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'
And I answered, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene,
whom you are persecuting.' And those who were with me beheld the light, to be sure,
but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.
"And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go on
into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you
to do.' But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was
led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. And a certain
Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by
all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing near said to me, 'Brother
Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very time I looked up at him.
"And he said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to
see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be
a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you
delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.' "
Acts 22:1-16 (NAS)
Paul the apostle spoke about how on his way to Damascus, someone appeared to him
on the road. Who was it who spoke to Paul on the road?
Jesus told Paul to go to Damascus so that Paul could be told all that was appointed
for him to do. Ananias came to Paul in Damascus and restored his sight, telling
him to do what in order to wash away his sins?
Suggested Bible Reading for Month:
July 1-7:New Testament -- Acts 7:1 - Acts 9:43. Old Testament -- 2 Chronicles 18
- 2 Chronicles 34.
July 8-14: New Testament -- Acts 10:1 - Acts 14:28. Old Testament -- 2 Chronicles
35 - Nehemiah 5.
July 15-21: New Testament -- Acts 15:1 - Acts 18:28. Old Testament -- Nehemiah 6
- Esther 10.
July 22-31: New Testament -- Acts 19:1 - Acts 24:27. Old Testament -- Job 1 - Job
Paul said, "My brothers and my fathers, listen to me! I will make my defense to
you." The Jews heard Paul speaking the Jewish language. So they became very quiet.
Paul said, "I am a Jew. I was born in Tarsus in the country of Cilicia. I grew up
in this city (Jerusalem). I was a student of Gamaliel. He carefully taught me everything
about the law of our fathers. I was very serious about serving God, the same as
all of you here today. I persecuted the people that followed the Way [of Jesus].
Some of them were killed because of me. I arrested men and women. I put them in
jail. The high priest and the whole council of older Jewish leaders can tell you
that this is true! One time these leaders gave me some letters. The letters were
to the Jewish brothers in the city of Damascus. I was going there to arrest the
followers of Jesus and bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.
"But something happened to me on my way to Damascus. It was about noon when I came
close to Damascus. Suddenly a bright light from the sky shined all around me. I
fell to the ground. I heard a voice saying to me: 'Saul, Saul, why are you doing
these bad things to me?' I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' The voice said, 'I am Jesus
from Nazareth. I am the One you are persecuting.' The men who were with me did not
understand the voice. But they saw the light.
"I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' The Lord (Jesus) answered, 'Get up and go into
Damascus. There you will be told all the things I have planned for you to do.'
I could not see, because the bright light had made me blind. So the men led me into
Damascus. In Damascus a man named Ananias came to me. Ananias was a man that truly
worshiped God; he obeyed the law [of Moses]. All the Jews who lived there respected
him. Ananias came to me and said, 'Saul, my brother, you can see again!' Immediately
I was able to see him.
"Ananias told me, 'The God of our fathers chose you long ago. God chose you to know
his plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One (Jesus) and to hear words from him.
You will be his witness to all people. You will tell men about the things you have
seen and heard. Now, don't wait any longer. Get up, be baptized and wash your sins
away. Do this, trusting in him (Jesus) [to save you].' " Acts 22:1-16 (ERV)
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