Acts chapter 9. I could do a few posts about this chapter, but seeing as we are going through a chapter at a time, I had better get cracking.
This is the story where Saul convert to Christianity. It is a wonderful and dramatic story where one of the most anti-Christian people out there, becomes one of the most important Christians in history. Without Saul (who later becomes Paul), we would not have one third of the New Testament today. If you are not a Believer, please let this show you that God can and will use anyone who comes to Him for His glory. You, like Paul, can go on to do amazing things if you will trust Jesus as your Lord. Seeing as most people who read this blog are believers, I would like to talk for a moment about Ananias. Put yourself in his shoes for a minute. You’re minding your own business, spending time with God, and He gives you a message. He tells you that the leader of a terrorist group (who goes out killing Christians) is nearby, and he has been made blind. God asks you to go and heal him. Firstly, if someone was known for killing Christians, would you go around to their place? Would you heal them if you had felt that God told you to? We read this as a story, and think that it is all fun and games, but think about it in today’s terms. If an ISIS leader was blinded, would you go to them and heal them? Would you be safe? Would you want to help them? These are all valid questions. Ananias was hesitant at first, but when God confirmed it, he went. I hope that I can show the same obedience when God calls me.
Saul then goes off preaching the Word. He gets a bit of his own medicine, as people then want to kill him. This is interesting, people don’t have an issue with other people, they have an issue with God. This is what it is all about. When Saul was on their side, hating Christians, he was accepted, but when he turned to Jesus, they wanted him dead. This gives me some comfort, as I often take abuse on social media, nothing like the people in this story though. I now see it as a spiritual attack rather than people hating me. They actually hate the Holy Spirit, that is why they come after me. This kind of persecution will happen, it just varies from verbal abuse to people trying to kill you.
Peter also wanted to get in on the action here, he went around healing people. I know that I teach often on healing, but it appears so often in the Word. It is also linked with salvation. When there is healing in the Word, there are people coming to Christ. I think that it is a vital part of the gospel that we have neglected. Let’s take a look at the last part of this chapter. Tabitha (or Dorcas) dies. They call for Peter, and he comes around and raises her from the dead. Great story. I would like to draw your attention to one verse. Verse 38. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Why? The people with Tabitha were Christians. Why did they call Peter? I have had Believers contact me and ask me to go and heal them. I take this as a huge compliment, but I often feel that they should ask someone more ‘experienced’ than me. They feel that I am more experienced than them, that’s why they called me. What is the solution? Do we all just ask people more ‘experienced’ than us until we reach the guy at the top who ends up going around and healing people? Do we not all have the Holy Spirit? Now I know that some people have the gift of healing, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t heal. We choose not to. This is what makes me sad. I have heard Believers say that they don’t have the authority to heal. If you have been baptised in the Holy Spirit, the only reason why you don’t have the authority is that you say that you don’t. God won’t force it on you if you don’t want it. So who are you in the story? Are you the one who calls for the ‘healer’ or are you the one who commands healing in Jesus name with the authority that you have been given? You may not be known for doing miracles, but everyone has to start somewhere. I encourage you to live in faith.
The One who raised Jesus from the dead, lives within you!