9 “I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene.[a]10 Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers[b] there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death.11 Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus.[c] I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.
12 “One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests.13 About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions.14 We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[d]‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.[e]’
15 “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.
“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting.16 Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future.17 And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’
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