The Dark Knight Is Converted

“The Dark Knight Is Converted”

Acts 9:1, 2


  • I know, I know, it sounds like a sequel to the “Batman” movie.
  • When I think of a “knight,” I think of a castle with a princess in it waiting for her knight in shining armor to come rescue her from the wicked queen or king.
  • When you look up in Webster’s Dictionary you will find the meaning of “knight” to mean… 1. A military servant of the king or other superiors. 2. A chess piece. Then, there is a bunch of other bologna that describes a knight, then I came upon this description …3. A devoted follower of some cause or person.
  • Saul (A Hebrew name) was a servant of the church at Jerusalem. He was a devoted follower of God. Saul was also working on the “dark side” of the Pharisees order by trying to muzzle and get rid of the Christians that were creating so much turmoil in the church at Jerusalem. Therefore I call him “a dark knight.”
  • Saul/Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin ( 3:5). He was also a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37; 22:25). Saul was born in Tarsus about the time of Christ’s birth.
  • Saul was given his name as an honor to King Saul by his parents.
  • Saul was the son of a Rabbi named Gamaliel. Saul, like his father, was a Pharisee. The Pharisees were of the very strictest sect of Jews.
  • So far… we have Saul being born a Jew, studied in Jerusalem under his father (Gamaliel) and became a Pharisee and a Roman citizen.
  • Note that in this chapter 9…
  1. Verses 1-19 record the “external facts” of Saul’s conversion
  2. Philippians 3:1-14 record the “internal facts” of his spiritual conversion.


I. The Knight on the Damascus Road

  A) A letter of concern

  • Acts 9:1…And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2) And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
  • Here we see that Saul was threatening the Christians (followers of Christ). By the action taken of Saul to seek a “letter” which I believe to be a bounty hunter’s contract, leads me to believe that some of the disciples of Christ were not intimidated of Saul’s threats. So, Saul decides to gain validation for his desire to assist the church in removing these unwanted Christians.
  • These “letters” obviously had to be given to Saul by the church leaders (Pharisees/Sanhedrin) to allow Saul permission to remove these Jesus worshipers from the church and those who refused would be jailed and possibly stoned.
  • It is highly unlikely that Saul would have left Jerusalem without the letters.
  • We also can note in verse 2 where Saul was not going to be particular as to who he captured “…that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”
  • Apparently he did draw the line as to having children arrested.
  • Saul was headed for Damascus which was an ancient city, the capital of Syria, located 60 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea and 160 miles N.E. of Jerusalem.
  • Also note that Saul was advised “…that if he found any of this way,” he was to bring them to the church leaders to decide their judgment.
  • The term “of this way” was a description of Christianity, derived from Jesus description of himself in John 14:6…Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
  • This term appears several times throughout the book of Acts and means the same each time (Acts 19:9, 23; Acts 22:4; Acts 24:14, 22)
  • This is an appropriate title “the way” because Christianity is the way of God (Acts 18:26), the way into the Holy Place (Hebrews 10:19, 20), and the way of truth (John 14:6; II Peter 2:2).

  B) The dark knight sees the Light

  • Acts 9:3…And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4) And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
  • This vision/experience is the first of six that take place with Saul/Paul in the book of Acts…
  1. Acts 9:3…Saul’s meeting and conversion to Jesus
  2. Acts 16:9, 10…a vision of a man of Macedonia begging for help
  3. Acts 18:9, 10…in a night vision the knight (Paul) heard Jesus’ calming voice telling him not to be afraid, be ready to speak boldly, and no one will seek to do you harm because Jesus had many followers in the city.
  4. Acts 22:17, 18…Jesus came to Paul (in a trance) telling him to flee the city of Jerusalem quickly because they will not put up with your preaching of Jesus there.
  5. Acts 23:11…Jesus stands beside Paul and cheers him on for his witness of Jesus in Jerusalem now going to Rome.
  6. Acts 27:23, 24…An angel of God stands by Paul and comforts him by “Saying Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.”
  •  Note now back in our original text of Acts 9, but now we are studying verse 3… where it says “…and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:”
  • We must realize that this road to Damascus is a heavily traveled road where one might see many caravans of camel, mules, oxen, farmers, city dwellers, and people of all walks of life going to and from Jerusalem.
  • Jesus, we know is God in the flesh. This “light from heaven” is the glory of God in the flesh, Jesus.
  • It was about noon (according to Paul’s own words in Acts 22:6) when this takes place on a heavily traveled road. However this light is shown only to Saul and those that traveled with him (Acts 26:13).
  • This light was more blinding than the sun Paul later states in Acts 26:13.
  • In Saul’s darkened condition, I believe that a bright light of this magnitude may have been the only alternative for God to get Paul’s attention.
  • On the other hand, I see God’s purpose in this testimony of Saul’s conversion to be a metaphor to all children of darkness to “see the light” of God in His Son Jesus Christ.
  • Also the fact that Jesus said in John 8:12 (KJV)…Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
  • This light shining on Saul may be the thoughts that later come to mind as Paul writs in his letter to the Corinthian church “…In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (II Corinthians 4:4)
  • You see, Saul was a believer in God but not of His son Jesus Christ. Some people cannot see it. Maybe Saul’s companions in his journey to Damascus could not see the light of the glorious gospel.

  C) The Light speaks to the knight

  • Acts 9:4…And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
  • When a person is in front of the almighty God, there is no way you can stand with pride in your heart. It is an automatic response of God’s creation to fall on its knees before Him…
  1. Psalm 95:6…O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
  2. Paul writes to the Romans in Romans 14:11…For it is written (in Isaiah 45:23), As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
  3. Philippians 2:10…That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
  • This voice is the booming voice of Jesus Christ in Acts 9:4 that will speak with authority to those who go against Him.
  • There is a union that exists between Jesus and His disciples (Followers). Saul’s persecution of Jesus sheep (followers) was a direct attack on Christ.
  • Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 (KJV)…And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • When you attack His sheep, you attack Him. Woe unto you who speak bad or do evil unto God’s children. You face a dangerous judgment from God.
  • Now we come to “The Light (Jesus)in Acts 9:5…And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
  • The dark knight (Saul) had his vision blinded because of his complete darkness of heart in dealing with God’s people and with torturing the sheep belonging to Jesus Christ.
  • There is one thing that every person on the face of this earth needs to realize is that no matter how wrong or right a child of God is…we are not their shepherd. Jesus is. We are not their spiritual adviser. That is Jesus. We are not their conscience. That is the Holy Spirit.
  • I get sick and tired or Christians and leaders acting like it is their duty to be the “spiritual police” of everyone’s lives. We are to preach it and let them do what they may, and let God handle the rest. Not one time did Jesus force anyone to do anything for Him or His Father.
  • It is the Christians duty to Preach the word, spread the gospel of Jesus Christ an love others. Controlling their behavior and being their conscience guide is not part of our duty. Too many control freaks out there.
  • Note this about verse 5…Who art thou, Lord?” Why did Saul call Jesus Lord when he didn’t even know who he was?
  • Adam Clarke’s Commentary said this… Who art thou, Sir? He had no knowledge who it was that addressed him, and would only use the term Κυριε, as any Roman or Greek would, merely as a term of civil respect.
  • Barnes’ Notes on the New TestamentAnd he said, Who art thou, Lord? The word Lord here, as is frequently the case in the New Testament, means no more than Sir, (John 4:19) It is evident that Saul did not as yet know that this was the Lord Jesus. He heard the voice as of a man; he heard himself addressed; but by whom the words were spoken was to him unknown. In his amazement and confusion, he naturally asked who it was that was thus addressing him.
  • Now Ron’s Notes say this… When Jesus appears on the road to Damascus he has a light shining about him and the mere presence of God in the flesh causes Saul to fall the ground. This would be enough to cause any man to realize the power behind the being in front of him.
  • Saul had no doubt understood the history of God’s people seeing the light of God, or the glory of God if you will as Moses did.
  • The Light (Jesus) answers Saul in verse 5b…And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:
  • This admission of Jesus Christ is what causes the submission of Saul. Saul had heard of this Jesus Christ and was definitely on Jesus “Most Wanted” list.
  • The tables had turned for Saul. Jesus had made Saul aware of who Paul was persecuting. Saul had no idea that he was doing a bad thing.
  • Saul was doing “A God Service” for the church. There are many Christians or Godly people out there in the world today that truly have no idea of the wrongs they do. If they knew what they were doing they wouldn’t be doing it.
  • They think they are doing a God service and in reality they are persecuting Jesus.
  • As we said before if you pick on the children of God, you pick on Jesus. If you hurt the followers of Jesus you hurt Jesus. If you gossip about Jesus sheep, you gossip (slander)
  • Note the last part of this verse 5c… “it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
  • I like what Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament had to say… These “pricks” or rather goads, among the Hebrews, were made very large. Thus Shamgar slew six hundred men with one of them, Judges 3:31: Comp. I Samuel 13:21. The expression, “to kick against the prick,” or the goad, is derived from the action of a stubborn and unyielding ox, kicking against the goad. And as the ox would injure no one by it but himself as he would gain nothing-it comes to denote an obstinate and refractory disposition and course of conduct, opposing motives to good conduct; resisting the authority of Him who has a right to command; and opposing the leadings of Providence, to the injury of him who makes the resistance. It denotes rebellion against lawful authority, and thus getting into greater difficulty by attempting to oppose the commands to duty. This is the condition of every sinner. If men wish to be happy, they should cheerfully submit to the authority of God. They should not rebel against the dealings of Providence. They should not murmur against their Creator.
  • In essence, Jesus in verse 5c is saying… “It is hard for you (Saul) because you are stubborn (an unyielding ox) to buck against authority (Jesus Christ) who has the right to command men to do God’s will.
  • The “pricks” or goads are the apostles of Jesus Christ who are trying to gather the followers of Christ. Saul was making it hard on the leaders of the New Church of Jesus Christ (Christians) to do what God had called them to do.
  • These men (Apostles) were specifically chosen of Jesus Christ as God gave them to Jesus to establish the church. Saul was a stubborn mess. He was a stumbling block to the new church and needed to be set straight by someone (Jesus Christ) who has more authority and less afraid of Saul.
  • Saul was a force to be reckoned with. People were afraid of his power in high places at the church. He was a Pharisee, the son of a High ranking Pharisee at the church of Jerusalem. He needed to be dealt with.

  D) The knight is defeated and called

  • Now let us look at Acts 9:6…And he trembling and astonished 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.
  • Saul was first seen walking down the road to Damascus with pride in his heart for God’s church at Jerusalem wanting to get rid of these Jesus followers who were stealing members of the church at Jerusalem by the thousands.
  • Saul was angrily stomping towards Damascus going to set the record straight and tell off those Christians by force.
  • But now we see him trembling (shaking) and astonished (amazed) and submissive saying… “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
  • God cannot use anyone who is full of pride, angry, and not willing to submit to authority.
  • God uses those who tremble at the sound of Jesus voice, astonished at his grace and mercy to let us live and be a part of His kingdom, and submissive to do whatever it takes to do His will.
  • When I said the “knight was defeated” I meant that his will was broken. Satan’s rule in the heart of Saul was defeated, his voice was squelched.
  • There is a new voice of authority in Saul’s life now. Jesus is at the controls.
  • THE CALL – In order to be called you must be submissive to God. The first step of obedience for Saul was to do as his new Lord had commanded… “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”
  • Have you ever been bad like me at school and be sent to the principle’s office not knowing what is going to happen next?
  • This is Saul right now. He had been advised of his bad behavior and is being sent into Damascus and wait there for further instruction.
  • Sometimes the Judgment of God is not clear for awhile. God many times will give us instruction and we must figure it out little by little.
  • Acts 9:7…And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
  • As we know from previous studies, no one ever traveled by themselves. There were at least 5 -10 people going together for protection and witnesses.
  • We can notice that these men traveling with Saul heard every word but never saw Jesus.
  • Saul refers to this occasion later in a testimony to others about his conversion in Acts 26:14…And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
  • Note that Paul said… “When we were fallen to the earth” This means that Saul’s entire band of travelers was fallen to the ground. In Acts it is mentioned that only Saul had fallen to the ground.
  • When a person is lying prostrate on the ground it is hard to refute, hard to fight against, hard to refuse authority.
  • Jesus demanded attention and submission of all that was traveling with Saul. I believe Jesus did this so that no one in the group would try to talk Saul out of doing as Jesus had commanded.
  • As we come to verse 8) And Saul arose from the earth;
  • Now I want to pause for a second and let us be reminded here that if Jesus Christ didn’t want Saul to get up from his prostrate position, he wouldn’t.
  • It was the power of God through His Son Jesus Christ that knocked Saul down and it that same power that allowed him to get up.
  • 8b) “…and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: When his eyes were opened meaning that his eyelids were closed. His eyes were still blinded. This was Saul’s judgment from God for His “pricks” against God’s people.
  • “The Light” that blinded him had left and therefore it allowed Saul to open his eyelids.
  • Now also remember that the word “light” in the Bible means understanding and knowledge of God. Jesus Christ had given Saul the understanding and knowledge of God concerning His will in Saul’s life.
  • If Jesus had shown His glorious light that illuminates heaven then the band of men that was with Saul would have been blinded also.  
  • 8c)“…but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9) And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
  • The “they” that led Saul by the hand to Damascus was the band of men that traveled with Saul.
  • We can also note that Saul had taken nothing to eat or drink for three days. Can you imagine doing that? Especially in the summer.

  E) The dark knight is given His sight

  • Acts 9:10a…And there was a certain disciple (Follower of Jesus) at Damascus, named Ananias;
  • It is important I believe that we also realize that this man Ananias was one of Saul’s targets in Damascus because Ananias was one of the church leaders in the church of Jesus Christ.
  • Now then, the following is a vision of this church leader at Damascus with Jesus giving instruction to Ananias…10b) “…and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11) And the Lord said unto him, 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, he prayeth,
  • FYI- this gate mentioned here in verse 11 is called “straight” here in our KJV and it still exists today there in Damascus. It runs from the East gate to the West gate for 3 miles. However this gate’s name has been changed to Darb el-Mustaqim.
  • Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament gives this comment… There is in it a very small closet, where tradition reports that the apostle passed three days without food, till Ananias restored him to sight. Tradition also says that he had here the vision recorded in II Corinthians 12:2.
  • (Barnes Notes Continued)…There is also in this street a fountain whose water is drunk by Christians, in remembrance of that which, they suppose, the same fount as produced for the baptism of Paul.
  • Note the words here of Jesus Christ that comfort Ananias in going to Saul of Tarsus… “for, behold, he prayeth,”
  • It is customary among the Jews after the judgment of God is evidenced in their lives that they fast and pray. This action is evidence of a repentant heart. They also rip their garments and cover themselves in ashes.
  • So when Christ told Ananias “Behold he prayeth” …his nightmare of going to this Saul of Tarsus who “breathed out threatening and slaughter against the disciples” was changed into a vision and calmed his anxiety.
  • Have you ever had a dream or nightmare and wake up sweaty? It often causes you to be in anxiety mode the rest of the day. The Lord couldn’t have Ananias in anxiety mode as He was the one to cure Saul.
  • Now read verse 12) And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
  • In verse 12 we can see where the Son of God (Jesus Christ) had given Ananias the knowledge of Saul’s vision (dream). Ananias now knows that Saul knows he is coming to heal him and therefore will be less apt to carry out his threats against him.
  • So, Ananias is called by God to go to a new convert (Saul) and heal him so that he can be a testimony for Christ and a powerful man in the ministry of God in converting Judaism Jews to Jesus Christ. It is always considered to be an honor anytime God calls us to do anything for Him. We need to take into consideration that God could have called one of the other disciples in the church to go to Saul but he did not. He asked Ananias to go and minister to Saul.
  • Romans 8:30…Moreover whom he did predestinate (determined before), them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified (rendered innocent): and whom he justified, them he also glorified (made to look good).
  • The one thing I would like to point out here in this next verse is that it is vitally important that when you are called of God t do something… you had better do it. There can be some serious consequences if you don’t obey the calling of God.

  F) Ananias answers the call

  • Now we see Ananias heeding (paying attention to) the call of God inActs 9:13…Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
  • Isn’t Ananias just like us today? Always believing what everybody says about someone without taking into consideration that we “…see through a glass darkly (I Cor. 12:13)” and also the fact that the person in question may have repented such as the case with Saul.
  • Ananias was quick to answer the Lord but hesitant to make up his mind that Saul had truly changed, truly repented, and no more carried revenge his heart for the church at Jerusalem.
  • Ananias tells the Lord that he had heard of the gossip going around about Saul of Tarsus and how evil he was. What? Really? Did Ananias forget that God knows that and more than likely told His Son Jesus Christ.
  • I guess in a sense maybe Ananias is questioning the validity of Christ’s word.
  • In this next verse we see Ananias recognizing the power that Saul had to carry out his threats with a verification letter from the church leaders at Jerusalem.
  • Look at verse 14) And here he (Saul) hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
  • THE VALIDATION AND ASSURANCE OF OUR SAVIOUR- Verse 15) But 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: Verse 16) For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
  • Jesus said to Ananias something like this… “Get busy and go to Saul like I told you to do because I have called Saul into the ministry just like I am calling you.”
  • The Christ tells Ananias of the things that Saul will be doing for His Savior… be a witness of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, kings, and to the nation of Israel. Then He goes on to say that Saul will suffer much “for His name’s sake.”
  • Let me ask you… “Saul was called of Christ to minister to the saints of God right?” Why in the world is Saul going to go through all this suffering?”
  • He is a minister of the Lord! This is the way Jesus treats His new converts? This would cause many to change their mind about Christianity.
  • Christ reminded Saul of the judgment of God that is true and just and that God is “no respecter of persons.”  God said in Genesis 12:3… “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse those that curseth thee;”   No matter who you are…you will not curse God’s people. Paul cursed the children of God and therefore must suffer the consequences of his actions.
  • Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 25:40…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Jesus said that when you do something (Good or bad) to one of the least important of His sheep… you have done it to Him. Jesus takes it personally.
  • Would you not do the same for your family?

  G) Saul is Annointed and Baptized

  • Acts 9:17…And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
  • The Acts writer (Luke) said that Ananias went “his way” meaning the way Jesus had directed him.
  • Also note that Ananias called Saul “Brother.” Wow! What a difference the Lord makes huh. I believe that it wasn’t only Saul’s heart that was changed but also Ananias’ heart from disbelief to belief. I believe that his heart changed from discord among the brethren to edifying of the saints. Amen!
  • Be careful not to misunderstand this next verse…18) And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
  • “scales (Like fish scales) did not fall from Saul’s eyes. It means that an effect had taken place in Saul’s eyesight that it was like something was covering his eyes and it was lifted off. I personally wonder if it was the hand of God.
  • Immediately Saul could see. He didn’t ask to go eat (Remember he hasn’t had anything to eat or drink for 3 days) or get something to drink. This is true repentance. Take care of God’s business first, and the deal with your own needs because God will supply it.
  • He arose up with the strength of God in his bones so that he could be obedient and follow his new Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in baptism.

  H) The discipleship (spiritual training) of Saul

  • Now look at Acts 9:19a)…And when he had received meat, he was strengthened.
  • After the spiritual cleansing of the heart and soul of Saul, now he needs the physical strength to go on his journey’s God has planned for him.
  • Now let us note verse 19b…Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
  • Most commentators commented that this “certain days” of training and spiritual growth of Saul were months and certainly no more than 3 years. The time is unknown.
  • We must also know that Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit of God. It was already active in Saul’s life…
  1. Convicting him of sin (John 16:9)
  2. Convincing him of the Lordship of Christ (I Corinthians 12:3)
  3. Transforming him (Titus 3:5)
  4. Indwelling in Him (Living in him) permanently (I Corinthians 12:13)
  5. Empowered for service ( Acts 2:4, 14; Acts 4:8, 31; Acts 6:5,8)
  • How long was Saul’s training and teaching of the word? It is unknown. We do know however that what knowledge that Saul did have was given by God through the Spirit of God.  
  • 20) And straightway (Immediately) he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
  • The term “immediately” means that Saul started preaching as soon as the disciples felt that he was ready and knew enough about Jesus Christ to teach others.
  • Some people will go to Bible College for 4 years and take a break from school. They may feel bogged down, or feel that they deserve a break. Whatever the case may be, remember that God’s work is vitally important and we need to win as many souls for Christ as possible.
  • I have said it many times and I firmly believe in its truth… a person is only as good as their teacher. Yes there are people who are special and need very little training but for the most of us…we need very much training. In fact, I have been in church most my life, took a semester in Bible college, taught for years in an adult Sunday School class and I am still in training.
  • Now look at the results of Saul’s training in verse 21a…But all that heard him were amazed,
  • What were they so amazed at in Saul’s preaching? Well, I believe that they were amazed at the knowledge he had of Jesus Christ and his speaking with such authority and yet humility and with his heart radically changed from the Saul of Tarsus they had heard about. Look at what they said…Verse 21b…and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
  • Obviously Saul had heard the groaning and whispers of the people with negative stabs at his demeanor.
  • Now we can learn of the power of the Holy Spirit in verse 22) But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
  • The spirit moves in a pastor many times by the response of the people listening. Jesus is a good example of such preaching. Look at how many times the Pharisees would refute the teachings of Christ and how many times He rebuked them or scolded them during His sermon.
  • It is like pouring gasoline on a fire.

II. The Jews Try To Ambush The Dark Knight

  A) A church counsel is held

  • Look at Acts 9:23…And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:
  • “fulfilled” here means “passed.” It is said that it really was a time period of about 3 years. Because it was during this time that Saul ministered in Nabatean Arabia. This area includes Damascus South to the Sinai peninsula.
  • This is proved in Galatians 1:17, 18.
  • After Saul’s journey and preaching he is led of the Spirit to come back to Jerusalem.
  • Now let us look at verse 9b…the Jews took counsel to kill him:”
  • During this time (3 years) the Jews had heard of Saul’s conversion and his preaching and teaching and you know how it is… not everybody believes that someone has changed. It takes more than gossip to quiet their unsettled anger for Saul (the known killer of Jewish converts).
  • Back in Acts 9, let us note verse 24) But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.
  • Adam Clarke’s Commentary said this…They watched the gates day and night to kill him—At this time Damascus was under the government of Aretas, king of Arabia, who was now at war with Herod, his son-in-law, who had put away his daughter in order to marry Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. As Herod was supported by the Romans, Saul’s enemies might intimate that he was in league with them or Herod; and, as the gates of the city were constantly watched and shut, that no spy might enter, and no fugitive get away, they thought it would be easy to apprehend him; and doubtless got orders for the different officers at the gates to be on the look-out that he might not be permitted to escape.
  • Gates in a walled city are like door locks on your home’s door knob. It is a typical entry point for the honest people. But to someone who really wants to get in…they will get in no matter the expense or labor put into securing your home.
  • As you well know even with America, the wars and threats of harm to our citizens and such… anytime there is a war, security is increased.
  • Security around the walls of Damascus were increased. The gates were closed and guarded with the best of the best guards. These guards were ones that were very dedicated and could be trusted.
  • If we go back into the verse 24) But their laying await was known of Saul. “ We can know that the ambush was thwarted because the Holy Spirit made sure that God’s man was protected until God was finished with him for His Divine will.

  B) The dark knight (Saul) escapes death

  • Acts 9:25…Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.
  • That had to be a pretty big basket. It wasn’t any laundry basket ladies. It was a big basket that was used for women to carry their food in (examples; Matt. 15:37, Mark 8:8, 20)
  • Saul’s escape was similar (if you remember) to the escape of the spies of Jericho with Rahab’s help in Joshua 2:15.
  • Saul was not running from the Lord as Jonah but was merely following His Lord’s words in Matthew 10:23…But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
  • So, now Saul was escaping the city of Damascus to go where? Acts 9:26) And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples:
  • The word “assayed” in verse 26a means his was desperately trying to get to his new friends/brethren in Christ for fellowship.
  • Now look at the reception of the disciples at Jerusalem in Acts 9:26b…but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
  • This is truly sad folks. But it happens all the time. It is quite understandable when you come to think about it. Saul was a force to be reckoned with. He had money power and authority with the church leaders of Jerusalem to kill or apprehend any follower of Jesus Christ. Now he is converted? Quickly, and now he is a preacher and apostle of Jesus Christ.
  • Look at these points…
  1. There are many people who want to change and do not know how.
  2. There are many who know how but don’t want to change.
  3. There are many also who want to change but people continue to remind them of the past and will not let up on them. These people are stumblingblocks. These are the people that Saul was dealing with here in Acts 9:26…They simply would not let him forget who he was and his dark past.
  • Be careful as to how we look at this scripture because it reveals the devil (Our natural father) in all of us.
  • When Christians do not forget and forgive… this causes many to never improve, never become what God intends for them to be, never get over their past, never come to church and learn of the goodness and grace of God. Shame on us!
  • Adam Clarke’s Commentary had this to say concerning “Believed not that he was a disciple”They did not suppose it possible that such a person could be converted to the faith of Christ. The full power of Divine grace, in the conversion of the soul, was not yet completely known.
  • This is why I called Saul “The dark knight”
  1. His heart was darkened to the light of God’s word and he was truly a warrior for God trying to do a God service for the church at Jerusalem.
  2. His past was dark desiring to rid the world of these “Jesus followers.”
  3. The Christians kept his dark past in the forefront continually.
  4. His dark past would always haunt him.
  5. The dark knight (Saul) is given opportunity
  • Look at Acts 9:27…But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them”
  • After reading this first part of the verse immediately my thought was this… Why did Barnabas take Saul to the other apostles? Why not Peter the leader of the group? Why not Matthew who had a dark past also of being an extortionist for the government against God’s children?
  • I personally believe that just like today, there are church leaders who have failed.
  • Church leaders who have tried to squash God’s children (as Jesus said “…the least of these”) that struggle trying to improve and become respected followers of Jesus Christ.
  • I also further believe that it those men who believe that they contain the entire truth and will not relent their authority to anyone to rebuke them.
  • I also believe that it quite possible that even the best of the apostle had been spreading gossip about Saul in their disbelief of his conversion.
  • Someone in the group had to stand up for the little guy, stand up for what is right, stand up to those who oppose the will of God being done in someone’s life.
  • Actually, it is noted that Barnabas had taken Saul to Peter and James as you can see Paul (Saul) say in Galatians 1:18, 19.
  • Look at Adam Clarke’s Commentary and let us share his insight… It is also considered that maybe word of Saul’s conversion had not reached Jerusalem. How it came that the apostles and Church at Jerusalem had not heard of Saul’s conversion, which had taken place three years before, is not easy to be accounted for. The following considerations may help;
  1. It is certain that intelligence did not travel speedily in those primitive times; there were few open roads, and no regular posts, except those between military stations.
  2. Though there were many Jews in Damascus, and several Christians, yet the city was heathen, and under a heathen king, with whom the Jews at Jerusalem could have little commerce.
  3. Though Herod had married the daughter of Aretas, yet, as he had put her away, there were great animosities between the two courts, which at last broke out into an open war; this must have prevented all social and commercial intercourse.
  4. The Christians were at that time greatly persecuted by the Jews, and therefore the few that dwelt at Damascus could have little connection, if any, with their brethren at Jerusalem.
  5. It might be the interest of the Jews at Jerusalem, supposing they had heard of it, to keep the fact of Saul’s conversion as quiet as possible, that the Christian cause might not gain credit by it.
  6. They might have heard of his conversion; but either did not fully credit what they had heard, or were not satisfied that the person who now presented himself was the man; for it is not likely that all the Christians at Jerusalem had been personally acquainted with Saul.
  • It does cause us to stop and think before we judge so quickly or make a statement concerning the apostles as to their actions towards Saul.
  • No matter the case, we must know that Barnabas was a Levite. He was also a role model from among those who donated property proceeds to the group of apostles. He was a native of the Island of Cyprus.
  • For further indulgence on the apostle named “Barnabas” we can use the best commentary (The Bible) in the book of Acts 4:36 …And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
  • Ah, so this is why Barnabas was sent… He is the one in the group that consoles people the best. “Console” means to make someone feel less sad or disappointed. To console is to give comfort to a hurting person.
  • Let us finish our investigation of Acts 9:27…But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them…”
  • Barnabas, being well respected by the apostles took it upon himself to stand up for the abused by telling Peter and James the “accusers” (which is always led by the devil, Rev. 12:10) these things…
  1. “…how he had seen the Lord in the way,” – How that Saul had seen the Lord (Jesus Christ) “in the way” meaning… on the road to Damascus
  2. “…and that he had spoken to him,” – I believe that when Luke (writer of Acts) said this he may have said it in such a way to cause Peter and James to know that Jesus had rebuked Saul sharply. Not just “spoke to” in a soft tender voice. A harsh rebuke is needed for those with hard heads.
  3. “… and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.” – Now the word “boldly” here is a descriptive word that describes “how” Saul preached. He didn’t preach with fear of hurting anyone’s feelings or fear of upsetting the Pharisees that may be attending the service. To preach boldly is to preach the truth without reserve. Boldly is to preach straight forward without hesitation in a commanding voice.
  • After Barnabas gave a “thumbs up” to the apostles Peter and James for the sake of Saul, you know this had to make Saul feel good.
  • When someone stands up for you in the face of opposition it causes you to have a great feeling of gratitude towards that person and new found respect for the cause. The cause here was Jesus Christ.
  • Acts 9:28…And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. This means that he continued in their fellowship and ministry there at Jerusalem for 15 days (Galatians 1:18.)
  • Verse 29a) And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus,
  • Also the term speak boldly meaning that he was speaking in support of the doctrines of Jesus Christ and that He was “The Messiah” that God promised Israel. Jesus did die on the cross as a onetime sacrificial Lamb of God to atone for the sins of the world, buried and rose again the 3rd All that doctrine.
  • The sad thing about many Jews is that they are still awaiting the coming of a Messiah. 
  • Now we look at what else Saul preached about here at Jerusalem in verse 29b) “…and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.”
  • You probably remember the Grecians as being the disgruntled group of Acts 6:1 that their widows were being neglected in the church. These were also foreign Jews who spoke Greek.
  • These Grecians were “Helenists,” and the verse finishes with “…but they went about to slay him.” Meaning that they tried to figure out a way to kill Saul. I am sure that there were some who probably felt that they would be justified in killing Saul since he killed and apprehended so many of their friends that had converted from Judaism to Christianity.
  • God is always protecting His children. Christ is always protecting His sheep. Look at the protection given to Saul here by his “brethren.” These are the apostles that heard of the plans to kill Saul…Acts 9:30) Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
  • The “Christianity pot” was boiling hot with Saul’s presence as many could not forget the past of Saul. Let us please take note that when someone in the church is creating trouble (Whether it is their fault or not) it is best to remove them for awhile until things cool down.
  • Married couples… don’t ever try to play with a hot tempered person or a boiling situation in the church. Wit for things to cool down. This story here of Saul is good proof of that.
  • Here’s the funny thing… Did you notice where they sent Saul? Home. They sent him home until things cooled off in Judea, Galilee and Samara. Home for Saul was Tarsus.
  • Funny? Well to me it was this… Look at verse 31) Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
  • “…the churches rest.” As long as Saul was there…no rest took place. by “rest” I believe they meant that the spirit of the people were in constant unrest. They were worried that Saul would switch back to his old ways, or maybe Saul was there as a spy for the church at Jerusalem, or that he wasn’t what the disciples said he was.
  • Remove Saul (the problem) look what happens…spiritual rest, people are edified (lifted up), doing as the Lord commanded in fear of what would happen if they didn’t, they were comforted by the Holy Ghost.
  • On the flip side, some have interpreted had the churches rest to mean that they were relived and able to rest now that Saul had been converted.
  • We must also keep in mind that these “churches” mentioned here were churches of Jesus Christ that preached the doctrines of Christ and they were not buildings. Mostly the early church was meeting in homes, hillsides, and near river banks. Wherever they felt led to meet.
  • 32) And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
  • Adam Clarke’s Commentary pointed out this … The Churches having rest, the apostles made use of this interval of quiet to visit the different congregations, in order to build them up on their most holy faith.
  • Of Saul we hear no more until Acts 11:30, which is supposed to be about five years after this time; eight in all from his conversion. Peter, it seems, had continued in Jerusalem all the time that the Churches were in a state of persecution throughout the whole land. Great as he was, he never evidenced that steady determinate courage by which St. Paul was so eminently distinguished; nor did he ever suffer half so much for God and his truth.


III. The Dark Knight is Silenced

  A) Peter takes over

  • Now let us look into Acts 9:33) And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. 34) And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. 35) And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.