When A Stranger Opens the Door & Let’s a Brother In

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament book of Acts—the account of the spiritual body of Christ—as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically today’s passage is found in verses twenty through forty-three of the ninth chapter. “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for this intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief -forests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ” (Acts 9:20-22).

 

            “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: but their laying away was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to. Kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were multiplied” (Acts 9:23-31).

 

             “And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydia. And there he found a certain man named Eneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto Him, Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh t hee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. And all that dwelt at Lydia and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord” (Acts 9:32-35).

 

            “Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and alms deeds which did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydia was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body, said Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner” (Acts 9:36-43).

            AND STRAIGHTWAY HE PREACHED CHRIST! AND STRAIGHTWAY HE PREACHED CHRIST IN THE SYNAGOGUES! AND STRAIGHTWAY HE PREACHED CHRIST IN THE SYNAGOGUES, THAT HE IS THE SON FO GOD! BUT SAUL INCREASED THE MORE IN STRENGTH! BUT SAUL INCREASE MORE IN STRENGTH, AND CONFOUNDED THE JEWS WHICH DWELT AT DAMASCUS! BUT SAUL INCREASED THE MORE IN STRENGTH AND CONFOUNDED THE JEWS AT DAMAS US, PROVING THAT THIS IS THE VERY CHRIST! When we come to this particular portion Scripture we can and will encounter the tremendous truth of the beginning of the aftermath and effects of the conversion of Saul. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that Saul’s conversion wasn’t merely something which happened while traveling on the road to Damascus. There would be some who would point to Saul’s experience and encounter with the risen, exalted and glorified Christ on the road to Damascus as his “conversion” experience. The truth of the matter, however, is this simply is not the case. The conversion experience which Saul of Tarsus experienced would begin on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus when he encountered and experienced the risen and exalted Christ, however, that conversion experience would be something that would take place over the next three days. Scripture reveals that after Saul had risen from the road where he had fallen to he was blind and had to be led by the hand into the city. For the next three days Saul would not only suffer from blindness but would neither eat nor drink but would give himself to prayer. What’s more is that during those days Saul would see a vision of a man named Ananias who would come unto him and lay his hands on him that he might receive his sight and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something absolutely wonderful and incredible when you take the time to truly consider this conversion experience which Saul of Tarsus did in fact experience from the time he experienced Jesus of Nazareth on the road to Damascus.

 

            Before we delve any further into the language and text that is found in this passage of Scripture I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which the apostle Paul himself wrote concerning his conversion. Later on within this New Testament book you will find Saul standing before certain political figures and deliver the testimony and account of how he had encountered the person of the Lord Jesus Christ alone the road to Damascus. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for if you want to truly understand and grasp just how powerful this experience truly is you must needs recognize and consider that which Saul experienced while he was journeying on the road to Damascus. Saul would indeed deliver his testimony before Herod Agrippa as well as Festus—both whom he would deliver this testimony and defense as he stood trial after being seized and come upon by the Jews in Jerusalem after returning unto this city having departed from the city of Ephesus. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found—first in the fifth chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints as well as the words which are found in the third chapter of the epistle which was written unto the Philippian saints. In addition to this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found within this New Testament book itself concerning the testimony which Saul would indeed deliver in the midst of the city of Jerusalem before Herod Agrippa and Festus. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the two epistles t which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian and Philippian saints:

 

            “Wherefore we labour, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. For we commend not yourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God; or whether we be sober, it is for your case. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we. No man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:9-21).

 

            “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall retail even this unto you. Nevertheless, where to we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing” (Philippians 3:1-16).

 

            In the fifth chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Paul we find him writing and emphatically declaring that if any man is in Christ they are a new creation. What’s more is he not only declared that they are a new creation but two distinct things happen—and not only happen but continue to happen from that moment they become those who are in Christ. The first thing which happens when that man allows themselves to be in Christ is old things passing away. This is incredibly important for the old must first pass away before all things can and must be made new. It is absolutely impossible for all things to become new without and apart from old things passing away. This concept of old things passing away can best be summarized in the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome concerning being buried with Christ in baptism—and not only buried with Christ in baptism but also buried with Christ in His death. One dare not think that all things can and will become new within their life without and apart from old things passing away and old things continuing to pass away within their life. Oh it is with that being said I would like to ask you what in your life still needs to pass away? What in your life hasn’t truly passed away and hasn’t truly been crucified? Is there something in your life that desperately needs to pass away and be completely and utterly removed, destroyed and crucified? There is a tremendous need for all things to become new, however, it is absolutely impossible for all things to become new without and apart from all things to become new without first old things passing away. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for to do so would be to miss out on the incredible importance of what is needed within our own lives—namely, that we are and have in fact been called into the place where old things have passed away. Oh there is a tremendous need within our hearts and lives for old things to pass away for it is in the context of old things passing away that all things can indeed and must in fact become new.

 

            The more I think about and consider this the more I am confronted with the fact that not only did the apostle Paul write of old things passing away but he also spoke of those things which were once gain to him he now counted loss for Christ. Moreover the apostle Paul would go on to declare that he counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. In addition to this the apostle Paul would also declare that he had suffered the loss of all things and did count them but dung that he might win Christ and be found in him not having his own righteousness which is of the law but that which is through the faith of Christ and is the righteousness which is of God by faith. The apostle Paul earnestly and eagerly desired that he himself might know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings being made conformable unto his death if by any means he might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for when we turn and direct our attention to the words which the apostle Paul wrote prior to this you will find him speaking of what he might have counted as being of worth and value in the flesh. The apostle Paul wrote of his being circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, and a Hebrew of the Hebrews. The apostle Paul would also go on to speak concerning the law how he was a Pharisee and concerning zeal he persecuted the church. As it pertained to and touched righteousness which was in the law he was and would have been considered blameless. This is something we must needs recognize and understand—particularly when you come to the words which the apostle Paul would write in both the first and second chapter of the epistle which was written unto the churches which were in Galatia. Consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these chapters beginning with the first chapter of this epistle:

 

            “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own. Nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I converted not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them w high were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unkown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: but they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me” (Galatians 1:11-24).

 

            “Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preached among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised misled: and that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privilege to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference adding nothing to me: but contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles) and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do” (Galatians 2:1-10).

 

            “…We who are jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but but the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For If build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I throughly the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I. Now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:15-21).

 

            Please pay close attention to the words which are found within these two chapters found within the epistle written unto the churches which were in Galatia. The words which we find here in this passage of Scripture call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the witness and testimony which the apostle Paul had—not only among the Jews themselves but also among the Gentiles. If we take the time to consider the words and language that is found within this passage of Scripture we must needs recognize that the apostle Paul would take any opportunity he had to emphatically declare and proclaim that he was once one who persecuted the church and wreaked havoc and destroyed it. At one point the apostle Paul would also use the word “wasted” when describing that which he had done against the church which was present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. What’s more is that when the apostle Paul had unleashed a torrent and fury of rage and wrath agains the church which was present in the midst of Jerusalem he would then turn and direct his sights to a different city—one that was not even in the land of Judaea nor Galilee but one that was in Syria. The apostle Paul would garner letters from the chief priests that he might journey unto Damascus and if he found any of them who were of the way he would bring them back in chains and commit them into prison. It would be while the apostle Paul was journeying from Jerusalem unto the city of Damascus he would not only experience a bright light which would shine before, upon and all around him but would also hear a voice of One who was speaking unto him. Having been thrown to the ground from and off his high horse the apostle Paul would find himself encountering the risen and exalted Christ who would ask him why he persecuted him. When Saul heard this question he would respond by asking the one speaking to him—not only who he was but also addressing him as Lord. It would be in response to this the Lord Jesus Christ would declare that He was Jesus whom Saul persecuted. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about and consider it is when you consider the witness and testimony which the apostle Paul would give in the midst of Jerusalem—and not only in the midst of Jerusalem but also in Caesarea before he would depart for Rome having appealed unto Caesar.

 

            It is at this particular juncture I would like to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the final chapters of the New Testament book of Acts for within them we find the apostle Paul himself standing before governors, kings and rulers and not only giving his testimony but also preaching the Lord Jesus. In fact at one point the apostle Paul would speak unto Festus and upon hearing the words which this apostle of Christ would preach Festus would declare that he almost persuaded him to believe on Christ and to be a follower of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in the final chapters of this New Testament book you can and will encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the testimony the apostle Paul gave before governors and kings as he would both give and provide his testimony as well as preach the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the final chapters of this New Testament book beginning with the first verse of the twenty-second chapter chapter:

 

            “Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defense, which I make now unto you. (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,) I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicias, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as. Ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders; From whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there is hall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. 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 and one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: and when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles” (Acts 22:1-21).

           

            “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand and answered for himself: I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all things whereof I am accused of the Jews: especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 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; believing thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 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. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:1-23).

 

            There is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words which the apostle Paul spoke unto the Jews which were in Jerusalem at the time of the feast as well as before Herod Agrippa and even Festus. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for they present us with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the witness and testimony the apostle Paul would in fact give before the Jews who sought to kill him as well as before the governor, king and rulers before whom he would stand. The apostle Paul would stand trial in the midst of the city of Jerusalem and would indeed give a defense of himself—a defense that was not so much a defense of himself but rather a defense of the person of Jesus the Christ. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning the defense which the apostles Peter and John gave before the religious leaders in the fourth chapter as well as the defense which which the apostles would give in the fifth chapter of this book it’s that the defense was not so much a defense of themselves but rather a witness and testimony of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the testimony the apostle Paul would indeed give unto those before whom he would stand. The apostle Paul would indeed and would in fact give testimony unto those who were present during these days and would not so much seek to defend himself—despite his being tried by the religious and political leaders which were present in the midst of Jerusalem. The apostle Paul desired not as much to defend himself as much as he desired to give witness and testimony unto and concerning the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh this is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the words which the apostle Paul would indeed declare unto the Jews themselves as well as the words which he would declare unto Agrippa the king as well as Festus the governor.

 

            As you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the ninth chapter of this New Testament book you will indeed encounter the beginning of this witness and testimony of the apostle Paul while he was still called and known as Saul of Tarsus. It would be in the eighth and ninth chapters of this New Testament we encounter the truth of this man named Saul of Tarsus and how this man would indeed be one who would wreak havoc upon and against the early church. In fact the narrative and account of Saul of Tarsus would indeed begin in the eighth chapter and would be connected and linked to the death of Stephen who was the church’s first martyr. It is in the eighth chapter of this New Testament book we encounter and come face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding just how much rage, fury, anger and hostility which Saul of Tarsus had toward and against the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. With this being said there is one thing I find myself asking when I read the words which were presented in this book concerning Saul’s persecution of the church and those who were called by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is one thing this New Testament book nor any of the epistles found in the New. Testament does not describe nor present us with it’s what drove Saul of Tarsus to vehemently persecute the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more I read the words which are found in these passages of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding Saul of Tarsus and what actually drove him to persecute the church and those who believed and called upon the name of the Lord Jesus. What was it within the heart and soul of Saul of Tarsus that would bring him to the place where he would indeed persecute the church of Jesus Christ—and not only persecute the church but do so with such ferocity, fervor, rage and resentment?

 

            I sit here today thinking about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with the truth surrounding the apostle Paul and what would have driven him to the point and place where he would indeed rise up against the church and lift his hand against it. We know that he would speak of this in terms of zeal and how it was the zeal within himself that would enable him to persecute the early church, however, I find myself asking and wondering what triggered this animosity and hatred toward and against the church of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul would himself declare that he studied at the feet of Gamaliel—a man who we first learn about in the fifth chapter of this same New Testament book. It is in the fifth chapter of this book we find the apostles standing before the senate of the children of Israel as well as the religious and political leaders which were present during those days. It would be Gamaliel who would himself warn and caution them concerning their actions and what they were about to do against the apostles for if they weren’t careful they might find themselves fighting against and resisting the eternal and living God. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder where Saul was at this particular time and whether he was present as the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ stood trial before the religious and political leaders. Did Saul of Tarsus hear the words which Gamaliel his mentor had spoken unto the senate and unto the religious and political leaders which were present during those days? This is something we must needs recognize and understand for in the fifth chapter of this book we find mention of fighting against God while in the ninth chapter of the same book we read of persecuting Jesus the Christ. FIGHTING AGAINST GOD AND PERSECUTING JESUS. Oh there is something truly captivating about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and how absolutely wonderful it truly is for within it we are brought face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding Saul of Tarsus not only fighting against God but also persecuting the person of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

 

            As I read the words presented in the ninth chapter of this New Testament book I am brought face to face with the background and story of Saul of Tarsus and what would bring him to the point where he would harbor such animosity and hatred toward and against the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ. What was it that Saul himself experienced within himself that would indeed cause him to respond with such fury and ferocity against the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ? What happened within the life of Saul of Tarsus that he would rise up to be what was perhaps the single greatest destroyer of the early church during those days? Was there something that happened to Saul during those days that would so fill him with anger and rage toward and against the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ? Oh Scripture is silent concerning those events which would lead up to Saul’s persecution of the early church, however, we know that there was undoubtedly a tremendous rage, a tremendous hatred, a tremendous anger and fury against the early church and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not something we might ever be able to understand know simply from reading the words which are found in this New Testament book and we might not know nor be aware of it until we pass from this life unto the next and enter into the realm of eternity where we will dwell and be with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and all those who were in Christ and believed upon Him during and throughout the course of their lives. Oh there had to have been something that happened within the life of Saul of Tarsus that would have led him to the place where he would indeed become the greatest destroyer of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ as he would enter into houses and homes and would drag men and women out before committing them into prison. The apostle Paul would indeed enter into houses and homes during those days and would wreak havoc against the early church and against the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it’s how the conversion of Saul would indeed begin with an encounter—an encounter with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot truly understand the conversion which Saul of Tarsus experienced without coming face to face with his experiencing the person of the Lord Jesus Christ there on the road to Damascus. It would be on the road to Damascus Saul would encounter a bright light that was greater and more brilliant than the sun in all its strength shining round about him. It would be as Saul was journeying from Jerusalem to Damascus that he would be thrown off his horse unto the ground where he would be consumed and enveloped by this brilliant and radiant light. What’s more is that those who were with Saul would indeed see and witness this great light which would shine round about them although they could not hear the voice which was speaking unto Saul. That voice which was speaking unto Saul would indeed ask why he persecuted him. In response to this Saul would indeed ask this one who was speaking unto him who he was and would then address him as Lord. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the apostle Paul and the beginning of his conversion experience there on the road to Damascus. It would be there on the road to Damascus the apostle Paul would indeed encounter and experience the glory of the risen and exalted Jesus Christ of Nazareth as He would appear and show Himself unto him. Moreover the sole reason and purpose for this encounter and experience was that the apostle Paul might indeed be His chosen vessel and instrument unto the Gentiles, and unto kings, governors and rulers for the sake of His name. Not only this but Jesus would indeed speak unto Ananias and declare unto him that Saul would learn and recognize what great things he must needs suffer for the sake of His name.

 

            What I so love about the words which are found within this passage of Scripture is not only Saul’s experience and encounter which he would have on the road to Damascus but also those individuals who would come alongside him as he would begin experiencing the transformation into the person the Lord Jesus Christ had called and created him to be. The more I read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth that Saul’s conversion experience would not only touch Ananias who would be obedient unto the voice and word of the Lord Jesus Christ but also others such as the disciples which were present in Damascus as well as even Barnabas. There is something to be said about those individuals who would indeed come alongside Saul of Tarsus after he had experienced and encountered the person of the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and after had not only received his sight but also received the Spirit. RECEIVING SIGHT, RECEIVING THE SPIRIT! It would be there in the midst of the city of Damascus and in the house of one named Judas Saul would indeed receive his sight which was absent for three days and would also receive the Spirit. There in the midst of the city of Damascus Saul would indeed receive both his sight as well as the Spirit which would bring him into a glorious place where he would begin to truly experience change and transformation. It would be there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem Saul of Tarsus would indeed experience true transformation and change as this one who once destroyed and wreaked havoc against the early church would now begin to become the greatest builder, proponent and defender of the church itself.

 

            It is at this point I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the ninth chapter of this New Testament book. The words which we find in this passage of Scripture calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the conversion experience of Saul and how although he would indeed encounter and experience the person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ while journeying on the road to Damascus he would also experience the fellowship of those who were willing to take a risk in coming alongside him. In all reality I would dare say there were certain individuals who were absolutely critical and instrumental in the conversion and transformation of Saul of Tarsus—those who were willing to come alongside him during those early days and not only extend unto him the right hand of fellowship but would also defend him and the conversion which would take place within his life. I can’t help but think about men such as Ananias and Barnabas who would indeed come alongside Saul of Tarsus and would be used by the Holy Spirit and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would be Ananias who would obey the word and voice of the Lord Jesus Christ in inquiring in the house of Judas in the street called Straight of one called Saul of Tarsus. Ananias would hear directly from the Lord Jesus Christ who would instruct and command him to go and inquire of one by the name of Saul of Tarsus who would be found praying. Not only this but Ananias would indeed be sent by the person of the Lord Jesus Christ to lay hands on and pray for him that he might receive his sight. Ananias would indeed be faithful and obedient to the word and voice of the Lord Jesus Christ and would come to the place where Saul was and would lay his hands on him that he might indeed receive his sight and receive the Holy Spirit. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this particular chapter beginning to read with and from the first verse:

 

            “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 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. 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. 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. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink” (Acts 9:1-9).

 

            “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. 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 form 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. 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. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ” (Acts 9:10-22).

 

            Oh there is something absolutely wonderful and remarkable about the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for within it we find Saul encountering and experiencing the glory, the person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ as he was journeying along the road to Damascus. It would be there on the road to Damascus Saul would encounter and experience the glory and presence of the Lord Jesus who would not only reveal unto him that he was the one whom he was persecuting but would also instruct and command him to journey unto Jerusalem where it would be shown unto him what he must needs do. Saul would be led by the hand into the city of Damascus having been blinded and being unable to see after encountering and experiencing the glory of the living God. There in the midst of the city of Damascus Saul would be without sight, would not eat nor drink anything and would spend his time praying and fasting before the Lord. During this time Saul would indeed see a vision of a man named Ananias who would come unto him and lay hands on him that he might not only receive his sight but might also receive the Holy Spirit. Ananias could have rejected and refused the word and command of the Lord Jesus which was spoken unto him. Undoubtedly Ananias might have experienced a certain level of dread and terror within his heart and soul having heard about this man named Saul of Tarsus and what he had done unto Jerusalem. Ananias not only heard what Saul had done unto the saints which were present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem but also that he had obtained letters from the priests which were in Jerusalem that he might come unto Damascus and bring out of the synagogues any who were found to be followers of the way. Oh this is something we must needs recognize and understand when seeking to understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding this conversion experience Saul experienced.

 

            I am absolutely convinced that it wasn’t enough for Saul to experience and encounter the glory and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. There is not a doubt in my mind that there was more that was needed than even Saul being without his sight and praying and fasting there in the midst of the city of Damascus. I firmly believe that the obedience of Ananias was indeed necessary for the conversion experience of Saul of Tarsus. Pause for a moment and consider what would and could have happened had Ananias had not chosen to obey the word, the voice and the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to go into the street called Straight and inquire in the house of one Judas for a man by the name of Saul of Tarsus. Stop and think about what this narrative and account might very well have looked like had Ananias chosen to allow his own fear, his own trepidation, his own doubts, his own hesitancy and his own emotions, thoughts and feelings to get the best of him. I can’t help but think about what this account and narrative would and could in fact be like had Ananias not have chosen to obey the word and voice of the Lord Jesus Christ and gone and inquired of a man by the name of Saul of Tarsus. Ananias not only responded to the Lord who appeared unto him expressing his readiness and availability but after initially speaking of that which he had heard of Saul of Tarsus he would in fact go unto the house of Judas where he would find Saul of Tarsus. Ananias would make his way unto this house of Judas in the street called Straight having heard directly from the person of the Lord Jesus Christ concerning this man by the name of Saul of Tarsus who was in fact a chosen vessel and instrument for the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would be told unto Ananias that Saul would indeed be a chosen vessel of heaven to take and carry the gospel and name of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the Gentiles and would suffer many things for the sake of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would be revealed unto Ananias what great things would indeed come of the life of this one who had once persecuted and vehemently destroyed and wreaked havoc against and upon the early church.

 

            I find the words presented in this passage of Scripture to be absolutely incredible the more you think about and consider them for they bring us face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding Ananias. Here was a man whom the Lord would appear and speak to and would ask him to do something that to the natural mind would seem absolutely and utterly absurd. The Lord Jesus would Himself appear and speak unto Ananias and would instruct him to go into the street called Straight and inquire in the house of one named Judas for a man by the name of Saul of Tarsus. This man Saul of Tarsus would indeed be praying and would see a vision of another by the name of Ananias coming unto him that he might lay hands on him that he would receive his sight. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for there is something to be said about the willingness of this man to faithfully obey the voice, the word and the command of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ananias would hear the word and voice of the Lord and would hear Him speak directly unto him instructing him to go and lay hands on a man by the name of Saul of Tarsus that he might receive his sight. What’s more is that it would be unto Ananias the Lord would even reveal a portion of this destiny and that for which he had been called. When speaking unto Ananias the Lord would reveal a small portion and degree of that which Saul of Tarsus had been called for he was appointed to carry the name and word of the Lord Jesus unto the Gentiles. What’s more is the Lord Jesus would also speak unto Ananias concerning this Saul of Tarsus and how this one who once greatly persecuted the church of Jesus Christ would suffer many things for the sake of His name. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something to be said about Ananias who was willing to obey the voice and command of the Lord Jesus Christ in going unto this man named Saul—a man whom he had heard many things about concerning the havoc and trouble he had wrought upon and against the church.

 

            I sit here thinking about and considering the words which are found in these words and I am brought face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth that Ananias would indeed be called to obey the voice and command of the Lord Jesus Christ in laying his hands on Saul that he might receive his sight and receive the Holy Spirit. I have to say I don’t fault Ananias for initially speaking unto the Lord concerning this Saul of Tarsus and how he would speak unto him of the great wickedness and evil he had committed against and upon the church of Jesus Christ. Ananias had heard of what great things Saul had done against the early church and how he had come to Damascus with letters and authority to bring bound unto Jerusalem all those whom he found to be followers of this way and those who were called by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must needs understand and recognize the tremendous reality surrounding the mission and assignment of Ananias. Here was a man who we know nothing about other than his name, that he was a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of the city of Damascus and that he was instructed of the Lord to go inquire in the house of one Judas for a man by the name of Saul of Tarsus. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding this man who is mentioned only once in all of Scripture and yet played a crucial and integral—not only in the life of Saul of Tarsus but also in the midst of the countless churches Saul would go on to establish. I cannot say what would and could have happened had Ananias chosen not to obey the voice and command of the Lord Jesus Christ, however, I can say that he played one of the most integral parts in all of the New Testament—and even in the history and narrative of the spiritual body of Christ. Ananias would indeed obey the word, the voice and command of the Lord Jesus and would go unto the house wherein Saul of Tarsus stayed that he might faithfully carry out that for which the Lord had appeared unto him.

 

            With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to a man whose name is rarely—if every—mentioned in connection with Saul of Tarsus. There would be those who speak of and mention Ananias for it was Ananias whom the Lord appeared unto and instructed to go and inquire of this man named Saul and lay hands on him that he might receive his sight. There would be those who would even speak of Barnabas who would come alongside Saul when he was in Jerusalem and personally vouch for him and the encounter and experience he had with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would be Barnabas who would come alongside Saul of Tarsus and present him unto the apostles as one whom the Lord Jesus had personally revealed Himself to and who had preached the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus. It would be Ananias who would come alongside Saul of Tarsus and lay hands on him that he might receive his sight—and not only receive his sight but also receive the Holy Spirit. It would be Barnabas who would come alongside Saul of Tarsus and present him unto the apostles as one who had been changed and transformed by the power, the presence and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would be Barnabas who would present Saul as one who had been wonderfully saved and powerfully changed and transformed. When many of the disciples which were present in the city of Jerusalem doubted whether or not Saul of Tarsus had truly been converted and had indeed become a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ Barnabas would come alongside him and present him as one who was mightily and powerfully changed and transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only this but Barnabas would declare unto the apostles that Jesus had personally appeared unto Saul of Tarsus and that he had faithfully preached Jesus the Christ unto the saints which were present in Damascus.

 

            Having said this concerning Barnabas who presented Saul as one whom Jesus had appeared unto and as one who was changed by the person and presence of Jesus as well as Ananias who would lay hands on Saul that he might receive his sight and the Holy Spirit we must also consider the man named Judas. When the Lord appeared and spoke unto Ananias he didn’t instruct him to go into the street called Straight and there in the street he would find one sitting alongside it praying. When and as the Lord appeared unto Ananias he would instruct him to go into the street called Straight and inquire “in the house of Judas for one called Saul.” Please don’t miss the incredible importance of this for there is something to be said about the man who took Saul of Tarsus in after he had arrived in the city. Scripture is unclear what was said unto Judas and how Saul found himself tarrying and abiding in the house of this particular individual, however, we know that this Judas opened up his home and took Saul in having undoubtedly seen the condition he was in. Stop and think about this and how absolutely incredible it is to be that one who would take Saul of Tarsus into your home—perhaps even knowing who and what he once was. Scripture is unclear whether or not Judas was married and had any kids but imagine Judas being married with a wife and perhaps one to two kids and making the decision to open up their home unto this man named Saul of Tarsus. There is something to be said about the man who opened up his home unto Saul and gave him room and lodging during those three days as Saul would be without sight and would neither eat nor drink. For three days Saul of Tarsus would abide and tarry in the midst of this house belonging to Judas and Scripture makes it perfectly clear that this Judas had in fact opened up his house unto this man by the name of Saul of Tarsus. Scripture is unclear whether or not this man named Judas was indeed a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ or if he was simply one who was moved with compassion and opened up his home unto this man who entered into the city blind after having clearly seen a vision.

 

            I am writing these words and I am absolutely struck and captivated with the incredible reality of this man by the name of Judas and how he would be that one who would open up his home unto this man Saul of Tarsus. Is it possible that this man named Judas had indeed heard all that had been spoken of Saul of Tarsus and perhaps even knew the risk that would be associated with opening his home unto a man such as this? Is it possible that Judas was so overwhelmed and moved with the compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ that he would open his home to him and show him the kindness and goodness of Jesus Christ at a time very early on after he had experienced the vision on the road to Damascus? I would dare say that Judas played an integral part in the conversion experience of Saul for it would be Judas who would open his house and home unto this man named Saul of Tarsus. Oh I would love to know what went through the heart and mind of Judas as he learned of this man named Saul of Tarsus and having seeing that he was indeed struck with blindness and unable to do anything without the assistance of those who would come alongside him. Pause and consider how during those three days while Saul was blind he would be completely incapable of doing certain things that others with sight could do and not even think twice of. I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words presented in this passage of Scripture and the hospitality, the generosity and the compassion which Judas showed unto this man named Saul of Tarsus. This man named Judas would display such wonderful kindness and compassion unto Saul by opening his home unto him and giving him a place to lay his head. Oh there is a part of me that would absolutely love to know what it was like as Judas agreed to open his home unto this man named Saul of Tarsus. Was Judas asked to open up his home unto this man or did Judas hear of Saul’s entrance into the city and deliberately and intentionally open his home unto him.

 

            Scripture reveals how the Lord appeared unto Ananias and would instruct him to go into the street called Straight and inquire in the house of Judas for one by the name of Saul of Tarsus, however, Scripture makes absolutely no mention of whether or not the Lord appeared unto Judas. Scripture is absolutely and incredibly silent on whether or not the Lord Jesus had indeed appeared unto Judas and instructed him to open his home unto this man named Saul of Tarsus and we are indeed left to speculate as to what exactly happened. Regardless of whether or not the Lord Jesus appeared unto Judas and spoke unto him concerning the opening of his home unto Saul of Tarsus or whether or not Judas was simply moved with compassion and opened his house as a result we know that Judas did indeed and did in fact open up his home unto Saul. For three days Saul abode and tarried in the house of this one named Judas and we know absolutely nothing about him—not even whether or not he himself was a disciple of the Lord Jesus. It is possible that Judas might very well have been a disciple of the Lord Jesus for if you continue reading in this passage of Scripture you will find that when the life of Saul was in danger from the Jews there in Damascus the disciples took him by night and let him down by the wall in a basket. We know from the text itself there were indeed disciples there in the midst of Jerusalem and that Ananias himself was a disciple. Scripture reveals how Ananias himself was a disciple and how the Lord Jesus appeared unto him and how the disciples which were at Damascus lowered Saul down from the wall in a basket that he might escape the threats and intents of the Jews who sought to kill him. This is truly astonishing when you take the time to think about it for while Luke reveals Ananias was a disciple we know absolutely nothing concerning Judas and whether or not he was indeed a disciple.

 

            I am writing these words today and I find it absolutely necessary to think about and consider how absolutely critical this Judas truly was in the conversion experience of Saul of Tarsus. There were indeed those men who would lead Saul by the hand into the midst of the city of Damascus and there would be a certain disciple in Damascus who would faithfully obey the voice and command of the Lord to go and inquire of one by the name of Saul of Tarsus and lay hands on him that he might receive his sight. What we don’t know is whether or not this man by the name of Judas was indeed a disciple of the Lord Jesus as well. Regardless of whether or not this man named Judas was indeed a disciple of the Lord Jesus he took a great risk in opening up his house and home unto this one known as Saul of Tarsus. What I would absolutely love to know is whether or not this man named Judas was at all reluctant or hesitant in opening up his house and home unto this Saul of Tarsus. If the Lord Jesus had not appeared unto him and if Saul simply showed up at his house being led by three men we know that he opened up his house and home unto Saul. Oh is it possible that this man named Judas was in the street when Saul was being led into the city by these two men and was moved with compassion toward him? Is it possible that Judas had personally witnessed the condition of Saul of Tarsus and as a direct result of this was moved with compassion toward him? Oh there is something to be said about compassion and hospitality—particularly and especially toward those who we perhaps don’t think deserve it or perhaps even those who have a reputation and a sordid past.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest things I can’t help but wonder is whether or not this man name Judas was aware of who this man was who he invited into his home. Did Judas know the name of this man—and not only the name of this man but also the history and past which followed him from Jerusalem? What we must needs recognize and understand is that Judas either knew this man’s name as well as his past and deliberately opened his house unto him or he knew nothing of his past nor his name and opened his house unto a complete stranger. OPENING THE DOOR TO A STRANGER! OPENING THE DOOR TO AN ENEMY! Oh there is something to be said about this man named Judas for if he had indeed heard of this man named Saul, and was himself a disciple of the Lord Jesus and had even heard of his past—both in Jerusalem and how he had come to Damascus—and if he still opened up his home unto Saul then he opened his house unto one who might very well be considered an enemy. If Judas knew nothing of Saul’s past nor even his name and still opened his house unto him then he opened his home unto one who was a complete and total stranger. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for there is something to be said about being willing to open our houses and our homes unto strangers and even enemies. We have been taught that we are to guard our homes from both strangers and even and especially enemies and yet when you read the words which are found in the ninth chapter of this New Testament book you will find this man named Judas opening his house and home to one who was either a stranger or an enemy. What’s more is that even if Saul was perceived as an enemy he would still be a stranger for those in Damascus did not know Saul personally—only what he had done in Jerusalem and what he had come unto Damascus to do. Regardless of whether Saul was an enemy or a stranger this man named Judas would indeed open his house and home unto him that Saul might have a place to abide—undoubtedly beholding and witnessing the tremendous place of need he was in being blind and escorted by those who accompanied him on the road into the city.

 

            As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the reality of this man named Judas for we know nothing about him other than his name, that he lived in a house on a street called Straight and that he had opened his house unto Saul. In all reality I would dare say that we don’t need to know anything more about him—whether or not he was a disciple, whether or not he was married, whether or not he had any children, what was said unto him if Saul showed up at his house or if he saw Saul in the street being led by the hand. What we know of concerning this man is that he did indeed open his house and home unto Saul of Tarsus and allowed him to have a roof over his head and perhaps would have even fed him if Saul agreed to partake in food during those three days he prayed and fasted. There is something to be said about this man named Judas for he was willing to show and demonstrate the compassion of Jesus of Nazareth in opening his home to a complete stranger and perhaps even one who could have been perceived as an enemy to someone such as himself if he was a disciple. While we would like to learn and know more about this man named Judas we must needs recognize that we don’t need to know or learn anything about him. What we learn and know of him is enough for we understand that he did indeed open his house unto this Saul of Tarsus and show and display the compassion of the Lord Jesus. Perhaps this man named Judas felt compelled to open his house and home unto this man seeing his plight and acting like the Samaritan who came unto that place on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho where the man who had been stripped and beaten and left half dead was found. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to something we must needs ask ourselves if we claim and profess to be disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            I find myself being directly confronted with whether or not I would be willing to open up my house and home to one who was a complete stranger—and not only to one who was a complete stranger but also to one who might be perceived as an enemy. If you knew the reputation and past of someone and yet saw they were in desperate need of compassion would you deliberately and intentionally close and shut off your home unto them? If you saw that someone was in desperate need of the compassion and hospitality of the Lord Jesus Christ would you close off and shut your own bowels of compassion unto them? Judas is mentioned in Scripture as the man who deliberately and intentionally opened up his house and home unto this man named Saul of Tarsus and we must needs ask ourselves whether or not we are willing to do likewise and be the same. Are we willing to open up our houses and homes to those who might be perceived as strangers and enemies that we might display the love and compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh there was absolutely no way for Judas to know that the man he had opened his home to was not Saul of Tarsus but rather that man who would indeed become the apostle Paul. With this being said we must needs ask ourselves whether or not we are willing to look at the past of those who we have been called to display the love and compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ or whether we are willing to see who and what they will become. I do not believe Judas knew who and what Saul would become and that he would become the apostle Paul who would write two thirds of the New Testament and would be the single greatest support and builder of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Judas might not have known who and what Saul would become, however, he would play what was perhaps one of the most critical and crucial roles in the conversion and transformation of this apostle of Christ.

 

We as the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ must needs be those who are willing to ask ourselves whether or not we will respond with the compassion and love of Jesus during and in those moments they are presented to us. I would love to know whether or not there was any hesitancy or reservation within the heart and mind of Judas in opening his house and home to this one whom he perhaps knew nothing about. Even if he knew who this man was and heard of the reputation which preceded him was there in fact any reluctance within this heart and mind to somehow shut off and close his home to him? I would dare say and am very much convinced that this man named Judas was willing to open up his home and house to this man named Saul of Tarsus and would indeed provide the environment and atmosphere for another man named Ananias to come and lay his hands on Saul that he might receive his sight and receive the Holy Spirit. This man named Judas did more than simply open his house and home to Saul of Tarsus but he also provided the space and the room for Ananias who would indeed come at the command of the Lord Jesus to lay his hands on him that he might receive his sight and receive the Holy Spirit. The question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to open up our homes and prepare and open up that space and atmosphere that men and women might receive sight and might receive the Holy Spirit. Are we willing to open our houses and homes and create those spaces whereby strangers and even enemies can receive the Holy Spirit, be baptized, receive their sight and begin to move toward that for which they have been called of the living and eternal God?

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