Sunday: Acts 9:28
v28 (continued): It also means Saul was invited to stay in their homes. The phrase going in and going out pictures the daily rhythm of someone going into a house in the evening and then out into the city during the day. Luke chose this phrase to show us that Saul went out each day with the church as they conducted their public ministry and then went in to their homes at night where he was provided room and board. In Galatians Paul says he stayed with Peter for fifteen of those days (Ga 1:18). Peter was undoubtedly very busy but took Saul with him during the day so Saul could observe the ministry they were doing, and he also gave Saul opportunities to minister as well.
Monday: Acts 9:28
v28 (continued): We can be sure that the questions Saul wanted to ask Peter above all else were, What was He like? How did He minister? What did He say? Please tell me as much as you can remember. Then, when opportune moments arrived during the day, and in the evenings after dinner, he would have listened hungrily to Peters memories of Jesus. Since Saul was a highly educated man, and since this information was of supreme importance to him, its likely he took notes on these conversations. Might some of these notes be the parchments he valued so highly later on (2Ti 4:13)?
Tuesday: Acts 9:29
v29: Apparently, after the chief persecutor of the church (Saul) left for Damascus, Jerusalem became safe enough for believers to conduct public ministry. So once again they were going out into the city to preach and pray. When Saul went with them he was invited to be one of the speakers, and when given the opportunity, he preached boldly. Then afterward he would talk with individuals and get into heated scriptural discussions. Because he himself was a Hellenistic Jew, its no surprise he got into intense debates with other Hellenistic Jews. Many of these must have been old friends, because Saul had grown up in that city (Ac 22:3). One can only imagine the intensity of their debates as Jewish scholars, who had memorized huge portions of Scripture, argued back and forth about prophetic passages. Some ended bitterly and, just as had already taken place twice in Damascus, a plot was formed to physically attack Saul and kill him.
Wednesday: Acts 9:30, 31
v30: Somehow the church discovered the plot and quickly escorted Saul down to the seaport of Caesarea, and there helped him find a ship headed north. They were helping him escape to his childhood home of Tarsus, but in saying this Luke uses a verb which possibly hints that there was another purpose in their actions as well. He says, they sent him away to Tarsus. Sauls presence in the city and style of ministry had again stirred the fires of persecution which, prior to his arrival, had begun to die down. v31: Sauls departure marked a turning point for the church in Israel. With their chief persecutor converted and his aggressive style of preaching and debate gone, the church entered into a peaceful season. They continued winning souls and growing in numbers but the way they did ministry was more in line with Peter than with Paul.
Thursday: Acts 9:31
v31 (continued): Beginning at the next verse (v32), and then through most of the following three chapters, Luke turns his focus back to Peter. As we watch him, we discover Peters approach to ministry seems to be centered on divine guidance and healing, which in turn opened a door for preaching. This stands in stark contrast to Sauls style of ministry at this point in his life. He used bold proclamation followed by scriptural debate which, as we noted, tended to provoke anger and stir persecution. Saul repeatedly was forced to flee for his life, but as well see Peter repeatedly gained great favor and led whole communities to Christ. v31 (continued): The church in Israel was now established and growing in all three of the major regions of the country: Judea in the south, Galilee in the north, and Samaria in the center. Religious barriers between Jew and Gentile had been crossed, with Samaritans, and soon Romans (Ac 10), being considered full members of Jesus church, just as He had commanded (Ac 1:8). However, the inclusion of Gentiles into the Church would continue to be a matter of controversy for years to come (Ac 15:1-5).
Friday: Acts 9:31, 32
v31 (continued): In this environment of relative peace the church grew in quality and quantity. Most believers earnestly pursued holiness in their personal lives. They loved God and sincerely tried to obey Him. And their faith was strong. They were constantly encouraged by seeing the Holy Spirit powerfully at work in their midst. And because there was such genuine spiritual health, their life together was very attractive to their neighbors and as a result their numbers continued to swell. v32: Lukes first example of Peters ministry during this season is the healing of a man named Aeneas. Peter had been systematically visiting churches in all the regions of Israel (Judea, Galilee and Samaria), and in the course of these travels went down from Jerusalem to a town called Lydda located on the coastal plain.
Saturday: Acts 9:33-35
vs33-34: The first thing he did was to meet with the believers in that community. In the process he encountered a man lying on a mattress who had been paralyzed for eight years. In a manner very similar to the healing of the lame man in the temple (Ac 3:6), Peter spoke authoritatively and command healing. He said, Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you, stand up and make your own bed! And immediately Aeneas stood up. v35: Everyone in that town, and it was a good-sized town with a very conservative Jewish culture (R.J. Knowling in The Expositors Greek Testament, W. Robertson Nicoll, ed., Eerdmans, 1983 reprint, Vol 2, p.245), saw Aeneas after he was healed. Even those living in the surrounding region, which is called the Plain of Sharon, saw him. In such communities people know each other, and everyone would have known Aeneas. They would have known he was paralyzed, and if his paralysis had been caused by a disease or injury, they would have known why. So when they saw him walking about normally, there was no question in their minds about the validity of the healing. They knew a profound miracle had taken place and judging from Lukes choice of words, their response was virtually universal. Everyone who saw Aeneas began to call on the name of the Lord Jesus.