Saul Becomes a Follower of Jesus
1 In Jerusalem Saul was still trying to scare the followers of the Lord, even saying he would kill them. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him to write letters to the synagogues in the city of Damascus. Saul wanted the high priest to give him the authority to find people in Damascus who were followers of the Way. If he found any believers there, men or women, he would arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem.
3 So Saul went to Damascus. When he came near the city, a very bright light from heaven suddenly shined around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
5 Saul said, “Who are you, Lord?”
The voice answered, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 6 Get up now and go into the city. Someone there will tell you what you must do.”
7 The men traveling with Saul just stood there, unable to speak. They heard the voice, but they saw no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes, but he could not see. So the men with him held his hand and led him into Damascus. 9 For three days, Saul could not see; he did not eat or drink.
10 There was a follower of Jesus in Damascus named Ananias. In a vision the Lord said to him, “Ananias!”
Ananias answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight Street. Find the house of Judas*
and ask for a man named Saul from the city of Tarsus. He is there now, praying. 12
He has seen a vision in which a man named Ananias came and laid his hands on him so that he could see again.”
But Ananias answered, “Lord, many people have told me about this man. They told me about the many bad things he did to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14
Now he has come here to Damascus. The leading priests have given him the power to arrest all people who trust in you.†
15 But the Lord Jesus said to Ananias, “Go! I have chosen Saul for an important work. I want him to tell other nations, their rulers, and the people of Israel about me. 16 I will show him all that he must suffer for me.”
17 So Ananias left and went to the house of Judas. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus sent me. He is the one you saw on the road when you came here. He sent me so that you can see again and also be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something that looked like fish scales fell off Saul’s eyes. He was able to see! Then he got up and was baptized. 19 After he ate, he began to feel strong again.
Saul Begins to Tell About Jesus
Saul stayed with the followers of Jesus in Damascus for a few days. 20 Soon he began to go to the synagogues and tell people about Jesus. He told the people, “Jesus is the Son of God!”
All the people who heard Saul were amazed. They said, “This is the same man who was in Jerusalem trying to destroy the people who trust in Jesus‡
! And that’s why he has come here—to arrest the followers of Jesus and take them back to the leading priests.”
22 But Saul became more and more powerful in proving that Jesus is the Messiah. His proofs were so strong that the Jews who lived in Damascus could not argue with him.
Saul Escapes From Some Jews
23 After many days, some Jews made plans to kill Saul. 24 They were watching the city gates day and night. They wanted to kill Saul, but he learned about their plan. 25 One night some followers that Saul had taught helped him leave the city. They put him in a basket and lowered it down through a hole in the city wall.
Saul in Jerusalem
26 Then Saul went to Jerusalem. He tried to join the group of followers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe that he was really a follower of Jesus. 27 But Barnabas accepted Saul and took him to the apostles. He told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. Then he told them how boldly Saul had spoken for the Lord in Damascus.
28 And so Saul stayed with the followers and went all around Jerusalem speaking boldly for the Lord. 29 He often had arguments with the Greek-speaking Jews, who began making plans to kill him. 30 When the believers learned about this, they took Saul to Caesarea, and from there they sent him to the city of Tarsus.
31 The church in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had a time of peace. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, these groups of believers became stronger in faith and showed their respect for the Lord by the way they lived. So the church everywhere grew in numbers.
Peter in Lydda and Joppa
Peter was traveling through all the areas around Jerusalem, and he stopped to visit the believers§
who lived in Lydda. 33
There he met a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had not been able to get out of bed for the past eight years. 34
Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed!” He stood up immediately. 35
All the people living in Lydda and on the plain of Sharon saw him, and they decided to follow the Lord.
36 In the city of Joppa there was a follower of Jesus named Tabitha. Her Greek name, Dorcas, means “a deer.” She was always doing good things for people and giving money to those in need. 37 While Peter was in Lydda, Tabitha became sick and died. They washed her body and put it in an upstairs room. 38 The followers in Joppa heard that Peter was in Lydda, which was not far away. So they sent two men, who begged him, “Hurry, please come quickly!”
39 Peter got ready and went with them. When he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room. All the widows stood around him. They were crying and showing him the coats and other clothes that Tabitha had made during her time with them. 40 Peter sent all the people out of the room. He knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to Tabitha’s body and said, “Tabitha, stand up!” She opened her eyes. When she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 He gave her his hand and helped her stand up. Then he called the believers and the widows into the room. He showed them Tabitha; she was alive!
42 People everywhere in Joppa learned about this, and many believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for many days at the home of a man named Simon, who was a leatherworker.