But meanwhile Saul was making violent threats against the disciples of the Lord, wanting to kill them. He went to the high priest and asked for letters of authorization to take with him to the synagogues in Damascus, giving him permission to arrest any believers in the Way* that he found, men or women, and bring them back to Jerusalem as prisoners.
As Saul approached Damascus, suddenly he was surrounded by a light that blazed down from heaven. He fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
I am Jesus, the one you're persecuting,” he replied. Get up, go on into the city, and you'll be told what to do.”
The men who were traveling with Saul stood there speechless. They heard the voice speaking, but they didn't see anyone. Saul got to his feet, and when he opened his eyes, he couldn't see anything. His companions took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. For three days he couldn't see, and he didn't eat or drink anything.
10 A follower of Jesus called Ananias lived in Damascus, and the Lord spoke to him in a vision.
“Ananias!” he called.
“I'm here, Lord,” Ananias responded.
11 Get up, and go to Straight Street,” the Lord told him. “Ask at Judas' house for someone called Saul, from Tarsus. He's praying. 12 He's seen in vision a man called Ananias come and place his hands on him so he can regain his sight.”
13 But Lord,” Ananias replied, “I've heard a lot about this manabout all the evil things he did to the believers in Jerusalem. 14 The chief priests have given him the power to arrest everyone here that worships and follows you.”
15 But the Lord told him, “Get on your way, because he is the person I have chosen to take my name to foreigners and kings, as well as to Israel. 16 I will show him what he'll have to suffer for my name's sake.”
17 So Ananias left and went to the house. He placed his hands on Saul. “Brother Saul,” he said, “The Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were traveling here, has sent me so you can regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. He got up and was baptized. 19 He also had something to eat and felt stronger.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 He immediately started speaking in the synagogues, saying, “Jesus is the Son of God.” 21 All who heard him were amazed, and asked, “Isn't this the man who caused so much trouble in Jerusalem for those who believed in Jesus? Wasn't he coming here to have the believers arrested and taken in chains to the chief priests?” 22 Saul grew more and more confident, proving Jesus was the Messiah so convincingly that the Jews who lived in Damascus could not refute him.
23 Some time later the Jews plotted together to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their intentions. Day and night they waited by the city gates looking for the chance to murder him. 25 So during the night his followers took him and lowered him down in a basket from an opening in the city wall. 26 When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him because they were not convinced he was really a disciple. 27 However, Barnabas took him to meet the apostles, and explained to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. Barnabas also explained how in Damascus Saul had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.
28 Saul stayed with the apostles and accompanied them all over Jerusalem, 29 speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the brothers learned of this they took him to Caesarea, and sent him to Tarsus.
31 During this time the whole church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was left in peace. The church grew strong and increased rapidly in numbers as the believers lived reverently for the Lord, encouraged by the Holy Spirit.
32 Peter was traveling around and went to visit the believers who lived in Lydda. 33 There he met a man called Aeneas who was paralyzed and had been confined to his bed for eight years. 34 Peter told him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up and pick up your mat!” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 Everyone living in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and became believers in the Lord.
36 In Joppa lived a follower called Tabitha, (Dorcas in Greek). She was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 However, about this time she became sick, and died. After washing her body, they laid her out in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa, so the disciples in Joppa, hearing that Peter was in Lydda, sent two men to him with the message, “Please come to us right away.” 39 So Peter got ready and left with them. When he arrived they took him upstairs. All the widows were there crying, and they showed him the coats and clothes that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40 Peter told them all to leave, kneeled down, and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and lifted her up. He called in the believers and the widows, and presented her to them alive. 42 The news spread through the whole of Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 Peter spent a long time in Joppa, staying at the house of Simon the tanner.
* 9:2 “Believers in the Way,” one early term referring to followers of Jesus. 9:31 Literally, “in the fear of the Lord.” 9:36 Tabitha/Dorcas means “gazelle.”