Paul addressed the people in these words: â€˜I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.
â€˜While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, â€œSaul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?â€ I answered, â€œWho are you, Lord?â€ Then he said to me, â€œI am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.â€ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. I asked, â€œWhat am I to do, Lord?â€ The Lord said to me, â€œGet up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do.â€ Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus.
â€˜A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there, came to me; and standing beside me, he said, â€œBrother Saul, regain your sight!â€ In that very hour I regained my sight and saw him. Then he said, â€œThe God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice; for you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.â€
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, â€˜Ananias.â€™ He answered, â€˜Here I am, Lord.â€™ The Lord said to him, â€˜Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.â€™ But Ananias answered, â€˜Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.â€™ But the Lord said to him, â€˜Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.â€™ So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, â€˜Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.â€™ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, â€˜He is the Son of God.â€™ All who heard him were amazed and said, â€˜Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?â€™ Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.
Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.