Summarize what you read in one paragraph:
Saul was hunting down disciples and there was a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem. Many of the disciples were scattered throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles who remained in Jerusalem. Wherever the disciples were scattered, they spread the news of the risen Jesus. Phillip shares his faith with an Ethopian official leaving Jerusalem while other disciples start another community of Jesus followers in Samaria. Some of the apostles come down from Jerusalem to check out the new community and correct a sorcerer turned disciple on where his heart needs to be. Saul travels to Damascus to seek out those who believe that Jesus is God’s Messiah and to stop the spread of “the Way.” After being blinded in a life-changing encounter with Jesus. Saul takes instructions to go to Damascus, where he regains his sight and takes up his call of evangelization in Jesus’ name.
What is one key verse?
“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
How does what you read change your vision of God?
Simon had a reputation as a great magician/performer and seemed to always be seeking a way to make himself great. Amazed by the signs and miracles performed, Simon became a disciple but his sincerity was questionable. He seemed to be in it for the show and for being seen as great. This section made me see that God always knows our true intentions even if we try to mask them with our best crafted outer image.
How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?
Simon’s heart was not in the right place when he asked the disciples to have the same powers they had to help spread the Holy Spirit. He seemed to be saying the right thing and convincing himself that having these special powers would be to “glorify God”, but in reality that was not where his heart was. Peter knew this and called him out; confronting him and his bitterness he saw from the reaction. This section encouraged me to see how important it is to have someone like Peter in your life to check you when your intentions or decisions may not be for God’s glory or your own good.
How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)
I will be aware of my intentions and where my heart is, making sure to be honest if my heart is not in a good place.
Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)
The conversion of Saul-Jesus blinds him and changes his life course to become a follower of him.