Chrysostom3On Acts 9:1-19.

“Saul, Saul,” says He, “why persecutest thou me?”

And He tells him nothing: does not say believe, nor anything whatever of the kind.

He expostulates with him, all but saying, What wrong, great or small, hast thou suffered from Me, that thou doest these things?

“And he said, Who art Thou Lord?” (v. 5), thus in the first place confessing himself His servant.

“And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest”; think not thy warring is with men.

And they which were with him heard the voice of Paul, but saw no person to whom he answered—for the Lord suffered them to be hearers of what was less important….

“But arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (v. 6)….

He does not immediately add all, but first softens his mind…. He gives him good hopes, and intimates that he shall recover his sight also.

“… And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus” (v. 7-8)—the spoils of the devil, “his goods” (Matt. 13:29), as from some city, yea, some metropolis which has been taken.

And the wonder of it is, the enemies and foes themselves brought him in, in the sight of all!

[…] What could equal this? To compensate the discouragement in the matter of Stephen, here is encouragement, in the bringing in of Paul: though that sadness had its consolation in the fact of Stephen’s making such an end, yet it also received this further consolation….

But why did this take place not at the very first, but after these things? That it might be shown that Christ was indeed risen.

This furious assailant of Christ, the man who would not believe in His death and resurrection, the persecutor of His disciples, how should this man have become a believer, had not the power of His resurrection been great indeed?

[…] Why then not immediately after His resurrection? That his hostility might be more clearly shown as open war.

The man who is so frantic as even to shed blood and cast men into prisons, all at once believes!

It was not enough that he had never been in Christ’s company: the believers must be warred upon by him with vehement hostility: he left to none the possibility of going beyond him in fury: none of them all could be so violent.

But when he was blinded, then he saw the proofs of His sovereignty and loving kindness:

John Chrysostom (c.347-407): Homily 19 on the Acts of the Apostles.

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