trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

What's in a Name? (4)

Can anything good come out of Damascus? Yes. Yes it can.

Acts (8)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27

Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 9 (Lesson 8) by clicking here.

Read and Meditate on Acts 9.19-25.
Never one not to make the most of the time (Eph. 5.15-17), Saul immediately takes up the work appointed to him within the ongoing work of Christ. He is in Damascus long enough, and is sufficiently persuasive, both to assemble a group of “disciples” around himself and to tick off the local religious leaders.

For reflection
1.  Saul’s message was singular: Jesus is the Son of God (v. 20). Wrapped up in that would have been all the prophesies of a coming Kingdom, of the Spirit of God, and the promises to Abraham. The Gospel is about Jesus – Who He is, what He’s done, what He commands. It’s not about people and their perceived needs. Explain.

2.  It’s not surprising that Jewish leaders would resent having their precious heritage “stolen” and “retooled” for the Christian cause. But that’s only because they could not “see” as Saul was obviously “seeing” more clearly each day. His reputation had preceded him to Damascus, but how others regarded him was turned upside down by what they now heard him advocating. In what ways has the ongoing work of Christ turned your life upside-down from what it used to be? Give thanks and praise to God.

3.  Saul’s escape from Damascus reminds us of Rahab’s concealing then delivering the spies of Israel, prior to the invasion of Canaan under Joshua’s leadership. Was the new “Joshua” getting ready to invade Damascus and all the Gentile world? Saul’s ministry may have had inauspicious beginnings, like the spies in Jericho, but big things were coming, and that right soon. These early days of Saul’s ministry are a portent of things to come; the reaction to him and the Good News he proclaimed would be pretty much the same wherever he goes. Should we expect anything less? Are we experiencing what Saul did and Paul would?

4.  Why Damascus, Lord? The name, Damascus, would have been historically associated with antipathy to Israel. Syria was a long-standing opponent of the Jews in Canaan, and only Roman power kept them from dominating Israel in Jesus’ day. That the Gospel would take root there and begin to flourish in the midst of this Gentile city would doubtless have raised some eyebrows back in Jerusalem. But, well, there it was – not exactly to the Gentiles yet, but smack in their midst. Luke is getting his readers ready. What are we learning about the ongoing work of Christ by the particular names we’ve seen thus far?

5.  Meditate on Acts 17.32-34. What kinds of responses to the Gospel should we expect from people, when we share the Good News with them? How should we respond to each one?

Here we find the Gentile world, or one part of it, in the preparation stage for the ongoing work of Christ. Even Saul is in the preparation stage, though he will soon become established in his calling and busy about the work of dispersing and replicating the Kingdom. He said his life presents a pattern for ours. How do you see yourself in that preparation/establishment/dispersal/replication pattern of the ongoing work of the Lord?

Closing Prayer
As for me, I will call upon God,
And the LORD shall save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.
He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me,
For there were many against me.
God will hear, and afflict them,
Even He who abides from of old. Selah
Because they do not change,
Therefore they do not fear God.

Psalm 55.16-19

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.

Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book,
The Kingdom Turn (click here).

Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.