Acts 9

Acts 9: Saul is converted

                Saul went to the High Priest to seek letters in the synagogues to find men or women with whom he could bound and bring back to Jerusalem to persecute. While on his journey, Saul passes near Damascus when “…suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: …saying Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutes… And he trembling and stonished 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.” (Acts 9:3-6)

Those who were with Saul at this time, stood speechless; “…hearing a voice, but seeing no man.” (Acts 9:7) When Saul arose from the ground, he was blinded and could not see any man, so they had to guide him by his hand into the city. Upon arriving in the city, Saul spent three days without sight and did not eat or drink.

In Damascus there was a man named Ananias, who was a disciple of the Lord, the Lord came to him in a vision and told him to “…Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold her 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.” (Acts 9:11-12) Ananias must have been confused as to why the Lord would want him to help heal a man who had been terrorizing and persecuting those who followed Him. Ananias asks; “…Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints in Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priest to bind all that call on his name.” (Acts 9:13-14) Besides being confused, Ananias was most likely terrified to go and ask to see a man who had persecuted so many of the members of the Church. Nevertheless, 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.” (Acts 9:15-16)

                Ananias did as he was commanded and went to the house were Saul was, and upon entering, he put his hands on him and blessed him that he would receive his sight. Immediately Saul’s sight returned and he was baptized and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Saul also ate and received strength, to begin his calling. Once his strength had returned, Saul went throughout the Synagogues preaching of Christ, after many days of preaching the Jews sought council “…to kill him.” (Acts 9:23)

                In order to avoid being killed, Saul hides in a basket and is transported over the walls of Damascus to meet with the Apostles in Jerusalem. Upon arriving in Jerusalem, the Christians who meet him are at first weary of him, because of his past. Very few believed that he had actually been converted. However, Barnabas took him to meet the Apostles. Saul goes and preaches among the Grecians, but they too seek to destroy his life. So, Saul continues his journey into Caesarea and Tarsus where the churches in Judea, Galilee and Samaria prosper!

Meanwhile, Peter is in Lydda, where he heals a bedridden man named Eneas, who had been sick for eight years with Palsy. Because of this miracle, all in Lydda believe on the Lord. Because of this great miracle people came from nearby Joppa to find Peter and have him come and heal a woman, who turns out to be dead. Peter raises the woman [Dorcas] from the dead and the news spreads throughout Joppa and many believe on the Lord. Peter finds rest in the house of Simon, who was a Tanner [someone who worked with dead Animals], this was actually against the Jewish Law, to spend time with someone who worked routinely with dead animals.

Luke 10

Luke 10: The Seventy

“…the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place…” (Luke 10:1)

Jesus then explains to the newly organized group of the ‘Seventy’ that the harvest is great, but the laborers are few. He tells them that he sends them as sheep, among the wolves. He gives them instruction to carry no money, and upon entering a house to say; “…Peace be to this house.” (Luke 10:5) and in whatever house a Seventy or Missionary should enter to “…eat such things as are set before you:” (Luke 10:8)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also has a Quorum of the Seventy, as shown in the below Organization of Christ’s Restored Church:

ldschurchstructure

Jesus tells them exactly what to say if a city rejects them…

“Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.” (Luke 10:11-15)

Jesus tells the Seventy that those “…that heareth you heareth me: and he that despiseth you despiseth me…” (Luke 10:16) The Seventy shout for Joy at their new callings! They explain; “…even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” (Luke 10:17) Jesus tells them to not rejoice because they have the power over devils, but rejoice because their names will be written in heaven. Jesus explains that He is happy that God the Father has “…hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes…” (Luke 10:21) Essentially Jesus is telling them, and the reader today that the things of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are not perceived by wisdom, but by the simple of understanding and knowledge; ‘babes’. Jesus tells the Seventy that they should be grateful for knowing the things they know, because many rulers have desired to know and see the things which they had witnessed.

A man among them, who was an attorney, asks Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asks him how he interprets the writings and he explains to Jesus that all he needs to do is “…love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and all thy strength and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” (Luke 10:27) Jesus tells the man that he is correct, but the man then asks Jesus; “…who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)

In response to the man’s question, Jesus tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan…

                “…A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment [clothes], and wounded him, and departed leaving him half dead…. There came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.” (Luke 10:30-32)

                So, there was a ‘certain man’, who we assume was Jewish, but may or may not have been Jewish, is robbed, beaten and left for dead. The road he was on was probably heavily traveled, so it is not surprising that two people had walked by him in a fairly short period of time. Although time is not mentioned, I personally believe that the events all took place within the same daylight. Both a priest and a Levite pass the man, forgetting the simple ‘love thy neighbor’.

Jesus continues the Parable; “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” (Luke 10:33-35)

Good-Samaritan-Mormon

So, we learn that no matter what faith, gender or race we should show compassion on one another. Jesus asks the man who proposed the ‘who is my neighbor’ question, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among thieves? And he said He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go and do thou likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)

The answer to the man’s question was easy, and the Parable of the Good Samaritan really hammers the message home. No matter who we are dealing with, even our enemies… when someone needs help we help!