October 24, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Acts 9-10
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Context: When we last read of Saul, he was witnessing the execution of Stephen. Saul did not want to stop with Stephen but requested and received permission to round up disciples — men, women, and children — of the Lord Jesus Christ in Damascus. It is on his way to Damascus that Saul’s dramatic encounter with the Lord occurs. We are then told of Saul’s amazing conversion into the person who will significantly impact the early Christian church and took the Gospel outside of Palestine. What can we learn from Saul’s conversion? God can take us as we are and transform us to be shining light for Him, no matter who we are or what we have done in the past. Part of that transformation may come through assistance by others, as there are several recorded individuals who assisted Saul. In the last part of chapter 9, Luke returns to Peter, who had been traveling and healing in the name of Jesus Christ. While Paul is most remember for his work with the Gentiles, it is Peter who first understands that Gentiles are not to be excluded from salvation through Jesus Christ. Through Peter and Cornelius, we see the importance of opening ourselves up to the Lord’s instructions and obeying. The Lord does not show favoritism, and we are not to show it either. Peter did not go alone to see Cornelius, rather he took six other Jews with him. We do not have to do everything on our own. It is important to have support of fellow believers, especially during times of struggles.