prison and even killed
many people in Jerusalem because they believed that Jesus is the Christ ? Didn't we hear that he was coming to our city to arrest the believers and take them back to the high priest in Jerusalem?"
For a time Saul worshiped with the disciples and taught in the synagogues. Then telling his new friends
goodbye, he went to Arabia.
For three years he spent his time in prayer and in studying the Scriptures. He saw clearly now that Jesus of Nazareth, whom he once despised, was the Messiah.
Again Saul went back to Damascus and preached even more boldly than before. Even the Jewish teachers who did not believe in Jesus
could not prove that Saul's teaching was wrong. Many Jews who listened came to believe in Jesus.
This made the Jewish rulers so angry that they planned to kill Saul. At each city gate they placed guards with orders to kill Saul if he tried to leave the city. They planned to get rid of him at all cost.
Saul heard about their plans. Believers hid him until night came. Then they took him to a building on top of the city wall. Saul
climbed into a large basket, and his friends lowered him to the ground outside the wall. This time he escaped.
Where could Saul go? The chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees in Jerusalem were no longer his friends. Three years had passed
since they sent him to Damascus to arrest the believers, and he had
not arrested a single one. Instead he had become a believer himself.
Some of the apostles were still in Jerusalem. Saul longed to tell them how the love of Jesus had changed his heart and life. With
this in mind, he started for Jerusalem.
But the apostles did not welcome Saul when he arrived. They were afraid of him. What if this were only a trick to capture them?
He had treated other believers roughly and even caused some to be killed. The apostles did not want to have anything to do with him.
Saul must have been disappointed.
At last Saul found a friend in kindhearted Barnabas. Barnabas took Saul to the apostles. He told them what had happened to Saul
on the road to Damascus, how the Lord had spoken to him, how he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.
After this the church in Jerusalem received Saul gladly. They were glad that God had changed their enemy into a true friend. For fifteen days Saul stayed in Jerusalem and met with the believers. He even went to the synagogues where he had once seized followers
of Jesus. Here he taught boldly about the Christ.
When the chief priests and rulers heard that Saul was in Jerusalem they were vexed. How did Saul dare to speak in the name of Jesus? At once they began to plan to kill him.
While Saul was in the temple praying, the Lord told him, "Hurry, Saul! Get out of Jerusalem quickly, for the Jews will not believe your testimony of me."
Saul answered, "Lord, they know how I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. They know that when Stephen was stoned for preaching in your name, I was there. I even kept their cloaks while they killed him."
Again the Lord said, "Go away. I will send you far from here to be my witness to the Gentiles."
When the apostles found out Saul's life was in danger, they took him to the city of
Caesarea on the seacoast and put him on a ship bound for Tarsus, the city of his birth.
After Saul left Jerusalem, things quieted down. The church, continued to grow in every city and village where the gospel story was