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Bible Discussion — Acts 9-10 : Bweinh!

Bible Discussion — Acts 9-10

September 17, 2008, 12:00 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Connie, David, Josh J, Steve, Tom  | 4 Comments

This week, Bweinh.com moves on to the next two chapters of Acts.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8

In chapter 9, we see the conversion of Paul, and catch a glimpse of his struggle to be accepted by the early believers. In chapter 10, we get a glimpse of the “First Pope” acting very un-Popelike by refusing to allow Cornelius to show him any reverential deference.

Here is the most pivotal moment in the life of the most influential man in history. The chief of sinners met the sinners’ Friend, and nothing would ever be the same.

Saul didn’t eat or drink anything for the entire three days he was blind in Damascus. What a time that must have been for him and those he was staying with.

Also, when Peter came to pray for then-late Dorcas, the crying widows crowded around him, to show him the clothes she had made. “You’ve gotta bring her back, Pete! Look at how flattering this line is!”

Ananias saw fit to remind Jesus of who Saul is. “Um, I don’t know if you heard, but he’s kind of a bad dude.” Have we tried to explain things like that when prompted to witness to or pray for leaders/bosses/neighbors?

Barnabas brought Paul into the group (9:27). Since we mostly focus on Paul’s writings, we tend to think of Barnabas as Robin in this little duo. He didn’t start out that way — he was probably more of a mentor and protector at first, and they may have ended up equals eventually, for a while anyway.

David: The Italian Band
Connie: Caesarean Summons
Steve: Eat the Reptiles
Tom: Lydda
Josh: The Way

Letting Paul down in a basket during the night to escape death reminds me of the spies and Rahab.

Peter\’s vision reminds me of a man who claimed to be Muslim who was eating at a soup kitchen where a friend worked. Seeing that he was breaking Muslim dietary codes, my friend questioned him. He replied, “But it\’s bacon. Allah understands if it\’s bacon.”

Referring to Christianity as “The Way” (9:2) reminds me of the cult of that same name that we battled valiantly when I first got saved. They were trying to ensnare Kathy Eberle, my best friend Darren Duffany, and a co-worker, Kevin Cowan.

After a few months of disputing with them, and actually attending one of their meetings and disrupting it, they announced that “they were leaving Watertown in Satan\’s hands.” When Kathy told us that, Dave Maxon held out his cupped hands, and moving them along, said, “Well, that\’s how they arrived here.”

Asking Saul a simple question: “Why are you persecuting me?”

Setting an ambush of grace.

Turning a religious scholar and champion on the crusade against the early church into a leader of His cause.

Our Healer.

I am no theologian, but I would guess that the inclusion of Gentiles in God’s plan of salvation is one of the most important things happening here.

I come from a tradition that does not practice water baptism, stressing function over form. We still believe in the importance of formally accepting people into the Body, and in the necessity of a public declaration of faith, and although this can take the form of baptism where this symbol is helpful, it does not have to take that form where it may be instead a stumbling block.

We affirm that water is just that: a symbol of our conversion, not what saves us. In this passage we see that the men of Cornelius\’s household accepted Peter\’s message of Christ\’s forgiveness and salvation, then received the gift of the Holy Spirit. The baptism came after the fact and was merely man\’s confirmation of the work God had already done.

I love the way Ananias protests about going to Saul, only to have God say: “Go do what you\’re told — I\’ll show him how much he will have to suffer for My name\’s sake.” You can see a partial list here.

Paul wrote, in I Cor. 1:27, that God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Do you think Paul was referring back to his own conversion?

I totally would have been on the side of those wary disciples in Jerusalem. The guy who was famous for killing Christians shows up and starts preaching on your side? If they’d heard of the Trojan Horse in Israel, I bet it came to mind.

I really like that Peter’s vision gives me no fear of dietary laws. Sweet, sweet ham.

10:34-35 — “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.’ ”

10:39-40 — “And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly.”

10:15 — “And a voice spoke to him again the second time, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ ”

10:42 — “And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.”

The men with Saul “heard the sound” but didn’t see Jesus. What sound did they hear? How did they feel about the drastic change that would soon become evident in their traveling partner?

What was the “object like a great sheet bound at the four corners” in verses 9-16? I’m picturing a giant hobo’s bindle.

I wonder how Paul ended up being converted instead of condemned as a blasphemer. He must’ve been close to the line anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy for the conversion — it was a wonderful save. Satan must’ve been very surprised by that one.

This passage offers important reminders of how the church is supposed to bring the message of forgiveness for the whosoever. Here we see the acceptance of those formerly considered to be unworthy of God\’s plan and of a man who was previously one of the biggest enemies to God\’s people. Never underestimate the power of God to change lives.

Peter was human, and humans are limited by prejudices. Thank God for Peter\’s obedience to reach for the Gentiles here — but he soon would cool off toward them, requiring public rebuke from Paul — who later told the Galatians that Peter was the Apostle to the Jews, and he the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Jesus came for everyone. He came for the enforcers of the synagogues, hands stained with the blood of martyrs. He came for the Gentiles, captains of an occupying army. Everyone.

There are so many. God does a lot of new things with Peter in these chapters. Isn’t Dorcas the first person mentioned that Peter helped raise from the dead? Then he went on to not only meet and eat with Gentiles (forbidden), but then lead a bunch of them to salvation and baptism, igniting doctrinal issues that still go on today.

Peter’s response later was: “Who was I that I could withstand God?” When God tells us to do something, our response should be the same: obedience, not status quo.

In chapter 11, the church will tackle the Gentile question for the first time — and the name “Christian” will appear first, in Antioch.


4 Comments to “Bible Discussion — Acts 9-10”

  1. David on September 17th, 2008 2:49 pm

    My list of Pauls sufferings should have referenced 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. Sorry.

  2. Connie Maxon on September 17th, 2008 3:23 pm

    Um, I referenced 10:15 as my verse , “What God has cleansed, you must not call common.” , not 10:13…” Arise, Peter, kill and eat.”

    Who do think I am, Sarah Palin?

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  3. Steve on September 17th, 2008 4:50 pm

    Hmm, sorry, guys. I bet that would have been Djere’s verse.

  4. Connie Maxon on September 18th, 2008 9:18 am

    Or Tom’s second choice: “mmm…ham…”

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