Scripture: Acts chapter 9
Commentary: Around this time, the Gospel had spread north probably around Damascus, which had a lot of Jews in population. The Sanhedrin sent the young Saul to arrest any Christian who still attended the Synagogue, and bring them to Jerusalem for trial. However, before he reached Damascus, he had an encounter with the risen Jesus that convinced him that Jesus was Lord and Christ. This persecutor became a disciple of Jesus Christ. Through one of those local Christians, God revealed that He had chosen Saul to go to different places and share the Gospel – whether it be to Gentiles and Jews.
God prepared him, though, to fulfill this difficult task. He went to new life through Baptism, which was miraculous. All of that rough background of Saul will be used only for good, because God had a plan from the start. Soon, Saul moves to Jerusalem so he could study Jewish Law, to which, his teacher was the great Rabbi Gamaliel. Similar to all the Jewish young men, he learned a trade, which was tent making. All of the different influences that Saul had affected his life and ministry. God used all of it for good!
People through the land of Damascus soon knew of the conversion of Saul. He openly joined with the Christians and argued against the Jews, and then went on to spend around three years in Arabia, before returning to Damascus. A violent opposition was stirred, to which, Saul fled for his life. He arrives in Jerusalem, to not be welcomed by Christians. People feared him, in that he was only pretending to be a Christian.
Therefore, when he found out who the true Christians were, he could imprison them. Barnabas knew better, though, and introduced Saul to the Apostles at the time in Jerusalem: Peter and James (the Lord’s brother). He made use of his time in Jerusalem by preaching the Gospel, which just made the Jews angry. When they wanted to kill Saul, he escaped quickly to his home in Tarsus. The rest of the churches in Judea didn’t know Saul personally, however, they did know of his conversion, and therefore, the persecution died down so peace could be welcomed back.
While God prepared Paul for a Gentile mission soon, he was helping Peter and other Church leaders. Peter had moved out from Jerusalem and visited some Christian groups that had formed. At Lydda, he healed a paralyzed man, and at Joppa, he brought a woman back from the dead. News spread and many people had believed.
Other notes: Saron was the name of a city, which seemed to lie between Mount Tabor and the lake of Tiberias.