What does Acts 9:14 mean?
ESV: And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”
NIV: And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.'
NASB: and here he has authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.'
CSB: And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."
NLT: And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.'
KJV: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
NKJV: And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”
Verse Commentary:
Ananias is in Damascus, 133 miles north of Jerusalem and the Sanhedrin—the Jewish ruling council. He, apparently, is a Gentile who worshiped the Jewish God before trusting in Jesus (Acts 22:12). Saul, a young Jewish man from the city of Tarsus, gained authority from the Sanhedrin to arrest Jesus-followers in Jerusalem. As his persecution increased, the Christians fled (Acts 8:1–3). Some came to Damascus and told Ananias what had happened.

The Sanhedrin was comprised of elders, priests, and scribes. The position of "chief priest" is not ordained in the Hebrew Scriptures. All qualified descendants of Aaron were to be priests, and there was to be one "high priest" at a time. In the four hundred years between Malachi's prophecies and the birth of Jesus, the priesthood became more politicized. They still had a single high priest, but other priests who were high ranking and served on the Sanhedrin came to be known as "chief priests." When Ananias says "chief priests," he is using shorthand for the entire Sanhedrin.

How did the Sanhedrin get the power over Jews outside of Judea and Samaria? At this time, Damascus belongs to either Syria or Nabataea, or it might possibly be a semi-independent city. When the Hasmonaeans won Jewish independence in 142 BC, the Romans ordered neighboring states to extradite any Jew in their territory whom the Jewish government demanded. In 47 BC, when Israel was under Roman rule, Julius Caesar confirmed this policy. The Sanhedrin had the authority to send representatives to bring back Jewish fugitives or immigrants to other Roman territories who had broken Jewish law. Whether Damascus belongs to Syria or Nabataea or is its own loose conglomeration, as part of the Roman Empire it is legally required to extradite Jews who now follow Jesus.
Verse Context:
Acts 9:10–19 explains how the greatest earthly enemy of the early church experienced a change of heart. Saul is a Pharisee-trained, Greek-speaking Jew and zealous persecutor of Christians (Acts 8:1–3). He asked for permission to hunt Jesus-followers in Damascus, but found Jesus, instead (Acts 9:1–9). Blinded by Jesus' glory, he has been waiting in Damascus for Ananias, a Jesus-follower. Ananias arrives and participates as as Jesus heals Saul from both physical and spiritual blindness. Saul is baptized and takes physical nourishment. Saul stays in Damascus for some time and immediately takes his extensive training in Jewish Scripture to argue that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. The Sanhedrin's hitman is now a target of his former allies.
Chapter Summary:
Acts 9 sets the stage for the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles. Saul continues the persecution of the church by traveling to Damascus to arrest Jesus-followers. Before he reaches the city, Jesus confronts him. Saul realizes Jesus is the Messiah and immediately starts spreading the news, first in Damascus and later in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Peter travels to modern-day Tel Aviv to heal a paralyzed man and bring a dead woman back to life. The miracles aren't unusual, but the story leaves him in Joppa, poised to take the next step in Jesus' mandate to be His witness (Acts 1:8).
Chapter Context:
The murder of the Jesus-follower Stephen has ignited a fierce persecution against the church, led by a young Pharisee-trained man named Saul (Acts 7:54—8:3; 9:1–2). When he realizes Jesus truly is the Messiah, that fervor fuels his own evangelism (Acts 9:3–30). Meanwhile, Peter travels to the coast of Judea. Soon, he will teach a prominent Gentile household about Jesus and discover that Gentiles can be saved (Acts 10). The stage will be set for Saul to spread the saving news of Jesus to ''the end of the earth'' (Acts 1:8) under the Greek version of his name: Paul.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 5/26/2024 10:01:43 AM
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