What does Acts 9:17 mean?
ESV: So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
NIV: Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'
NASB: So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'
CSB: Ananias went and entered the house. He placed his hands on him and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
NLT: So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'
KJV: 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.
Ever since the murder of the Jesus-follower Stephen (Acts 7:54–60), Saul has made it his personal mission to capture other Jewish Christians, seeking to force them to deny their faith or execute them (Acts 26:9–11). To that end, he has traveled 133 miles north of Jerusalem to the trading town of Damascus. Before he reached the city, however, Jesus showed up (Acts 9:1–9). Saul has the theological training of a Pharisee and a zeal that borders on madness; these are characteristics Jesus can use in a missionary. Jesus then sends Ananias to meet with Saul and affirm his new life mission (Acts 9:10–16).
We know next to nothing about Ananias except that he is probably not Jewish; when Saul later calls him "a devout man," that's a term that usually describes a Gentile who worships the Jewish God (Acts 22:12). God chooses an unknown follower, over a hundred miles away from the church in Jerusalem, to lead Saul to Him. Saul will spend the next years preaching in Damascus and spending time in the wilderness east of Damascus before returning to Jerusalem (Galatians 1:15–17) where the apostles will doubt his conversion and be reluctant to even meet with him (Acts 9:26).
Saul, later going by his Greek name, Paul, makes it clear in the book of Galatians that he was not commissioned by the apostles or other Christian leaders (Galatians 1:11–12). Ananias was a relative nobody. It seems God didn't intend Saul, the missionary to the Gentiles, to be a disciple of another man but of Christ, Himself. Saul came to Damascus with the authority of the Sanhedrin (Acts 9:1–2). He leaves with the authority of Christ.
The role of the Holy Spirit changes at the point of Jesus' ascension; Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would have a more prominent role after He was gone (John 15:26; 16:7). At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit falls on every believer, eternally indwelling them and marking them as saved (Acts 2:1–4; 2 Corinthians 1:22). The filling of the Holy Spirit is different. It is not salvation-based; it is an empowerment for specific work. Bezalel was filled with the Spirit when God commissioned him to make the tabernacle (Exodus 31:2–3). Prophets were regularly filled with the Holy Spirit, including such unlikely candidates as Balaam (Numbers 24:2) and King Saul (1 Samuel 10:10).
The Holy Spirit fills those in the New Testament, too, usually for short amounts of time, although John the Baptist was filled for years (Luke 1:15). When Saul is saved, he is both indwelt and filled by the Holy Spirit.
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.
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).
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.
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 12/6/2023 11:03:45 PM
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