ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 112


Then Paul said, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was
brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became
very zealous to honor God in everything I did, just like all of you today.
And I persecuted the followers of the Way, hounding some to death,
­arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison. The high
priest and the whole council of elders can testify that this is so. For I received letters from them to our Jewish brothers in Damascus, authorizing
me to bring the followers of the Way from there to Jerusalem, in chains,
to be punished.
“As I was on the road, approaching Damascus about noon, a very bright
light from heaven suddenly shone down around me. I fell to the ground
and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
“‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.
“And the voice replied, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, the one you are persecuting.’ The people with me saw the light but didn’t understand the voice
speaking to me.
“I asked, ‘What should I do, Lord?’
“And the Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you
will be told everything you are to do.’
“I was blinded by the intense light and had to be led by the hand to
­Damascus by my companions. A man named Ananias lived there. He was
a godly man, deeply devoted to the law, and well regarded by all the Jews
of Damascus. He came and stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, regain
your sight.’ And that very moment I could see him!
“Then he told me, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know
his will and to see the Righteous One and hear him speak. For you are to
be his witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard. What are
you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by
calling on the name of the Lord.’
“After I returned to Jerusalem, I was praying in the Temple and fell into
a trance. I saw a vision of Jesus saying to me, ‘Hurry! Leave Jerusalem, for
the people here won’t accept your testimony about me.’
“‘But Lord,’ I argued, ‘they certainly know that in every synagogue I
imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. And I was in complete
agreement when your witness Stephen was killed. I stood by and kept the
coats they took off when they stoned him.’
“But the Lord said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the
The crowd listened until Paul said that word. Then they all began to
shout, “Away with such a fellow! He isn’t fit to live!” They yelled, threw
off their coats, and tossed handfuls of dust into the air.

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