9 But Paul, threatening with every breath and eager to destroy every Christian, went to the High Priest in Jerusalem. 2 He requested a letter addressed to synagogues in Damascus, requiring their cooperation in the persecution of any believers he found there, both men and women, so that he could bring them in chains to Jerusalem.
3 As he was nearing Damascus on this mission, suddenly a brilliant light from heaven spotted down upon him! 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Paul! Paul! Why are you persecuting me?”
5 “Who is speaking, sir?” Paul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city and await my further instructions.”
7 The men with Paul stood speechless with surprise, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! 8-9 As Paul picked himself up off the ground, he found that he was blind. He had to be led into Damascus and was there three days, blind, going without food and water all that time.
10 Now there was in Damascus a believer named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord!” he replied.
11 And the Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street and find the house of a man named Judas and ask there for Paul of Tarsus. He is praying to me right now, for 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying his hands on him so that he can see again!”
13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I have heard about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And we hear that he has arrest warrants with him from the chief priests, authorizing him to arrest every believer in Damascus!”
15 But the Lord said, “Go and do what I say. For Paul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the nations and before kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for me.”
17 So Ananias went over and found Paul and laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Paul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you may be filled with the Holy Spirit and get your sight back.”
18 Instantly (it was as though scales fell from his eyes) Paul could see and was immediately baptized. 19 Then he ate and was strengthened.
He stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days 20 and went at once to the synagogue to tell everyone there the Good News about Jesus—that he is indeed the Son of God!
21 All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who persecuted Jesus’ followers so bitterly in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And we understand that he came here to arrest them all and take them in chains to the chief priests.”
22 Paul became more and more fervent in his preaching, and the Damascus Jews couldn’t withstand his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Christ.
23 After a while the Jewish leaders determined to kill him. 24 But Paul was told about their plans, that they were watching the gates of the city day and night prepared to murder him. 25 So during the night some of his converts let him down in a basket through an opening in the city wall!
26 Upon arrival in Jerusalem he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They thought he was faking! 27 Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Paul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus, what the Lord had said to him, and all about his powerful preaching in the name of Jesus. 28 Then they accepted him, and after that he was constantly with the believers 29 and preached boldly in the name of the Lord. But then some Greek-speaking Jews with whom he had argued plotted to murder him. 30 However, when the other believers heard about his danger, they took him to Caesarea and then sent him to his home in Tarsus.
31 Meanwhile, the church had peace throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria, and grew in strength and numbers. The believers learned how to walk in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
32 Peter traveled from place to place to visit them,[a] and in his travels came to the believers in the town of Lydda. 33 There he met a man named Aeneas, paralyzed and bedridden for eight years.
34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas! Jesus Christ has healed you! Get up and make your bed.” And he was healed instantly. 35 Then the whole population of Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord when they saw Aeneas walking around.
36 In the city of Joppa there was a woman named Dorcas (“Gazelle”), a believer who was always doing kind things for others, especially for the poor. 37 About this time she became ill and died. Her friends prepared her for burial and laid her in an upstairs room. 38 But when they learned that Peter was nearby at Lydda, they sent two men to beg him to return with them to Joppa. 39 This he did; as soon as he arrived, they took him upstairs where Dorcas lay. The room was filled with weeping widows who were showing one another the coats and other garments Dorcas had made for them. 40 But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed. Turning to the body he said, “Get up, Dorcas,”[b] and she opened her eyes! And when she saw Peter, she sat up! 41 He gave her his hand and helped her up and called in the believers and widows, presenting her to them.
42 The news raced through the town, and many believed in the Lord. 43 And Peter stayed a long time in Joppa, living with Simon, the tanner.