Acts of the Followers 8-10

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   8 [1-8] Now Saul agreed to Stephen’s death. And at that time the church at Jerusalem was greatly discriminated against; so much that everyone except the followers were scattered throughout all the areas of Judea and Samaria. But some dedicated people carried Stephen to be buried, and mourned greatly over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, going into every Christian home, putting both people and women into prison. So those who were scattered out went every where preaching the New Word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached about Christ to them. And the people listened to what Philip spoke with One heart, because they both heard and saw the amazing things which he did. And evil spirits, hollering out with loud voices, came out of many that were overcome by them: and many who were paralyzed, and that were unable to walk, were healed. And there was great joy in that city.

      [9-24] But there was someone, named Simon, who used witchcraft before in that same city, and fooled the people of Samaria, making out that he was someone great. Everyone in the city listened to him, from the youngest to the oldest, saying, “This person is the great power of God.” And they had great respect for him, because he had fooled them with his witchcraft for so long. But when they believed Philip’s preaching about the things of the realm of God, and the Name of Yeshua the Christ, they were baptized, both people and women. Then Simon himself also believed, and when he was baptized, he stayed with Philip, and was amazed, watching all the amazing things and signs which had happened. Now when the followers who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them: Who, when they had come down, prayed for the Holy Spirit to come on them: (because the spirit hadn’t fallen on any of them yet: they were only baptized in the Name of Christ Yeshua.) Then they laid their hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came on all of them. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the followers’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power, too, so that whoever I lay hands on can get the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said, “Your money will be destroyed along with you, because you think that the gift of God can be bought with money. You cannot have any part in this, because your heart isn’t right in the sight of God. Change your evil ways, and pray to God that maybe what you thought in your heart can be forgiven you. I realize that you have a spirit of bitterness, and are being controlled by sin.” Then Simon said, “Pray to God for me, that what you’ve just said won’t happen to me.”

      [25-40] And when they had told us the truth and preached the Word of God, they went back to Jerusalem, preaching the New Word in many of the Samaritan towns, which were of mixed races. And an angel of God spoke to Philip, saying, “Get up, and go south, toward the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is deserted.” So he got up and went, coming to someone who was from Ethiopia, One of Queen Candace’s helpers, who had great power and was in charge of all her wealth. He had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning, sitting in a chariot reading from Isaiah, the great preacher. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near, and catch up to this chariot.” And Philip ran up to it, and heard the person reading from the great preacher Isaiah, saying, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” And he answered, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. He was reading in the Word at this place, “The Christ was led as an animal to slaughter; and like a dumb lamb to its shearer, who didn’t cry out: The Christ was humbled, whose judgment was taken away. Who will tell of the Christ’s people? The Christ’s life was taken from the earth.” And the person asked Philip, saying, “Who does the great preacher speak about? of himself, or of some other person?” Then Philip began to speak at the same place, and preached about Yeshua to him. And as they went on, they came to a place with water: and the person asked Phillip, “Look, here’s some water; what’s keeping me from being baptized?” And Philip answered, “If you believe with all your heart, you can.” And the person said, “I believe that Yeshua the Christ is the Child of God.” And they told the chariot to stop: and both of them went down into the water; and Phillip baptized him. And when he had come up out of the water, the Spirit of God caught Philip, away and he never saw him again, but went on with great joy. And Philip was brought to Azotus, so passing through, he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

     9 [1-9] And Saul, still threatening to slaughter the followers of God, went to the leading priest, and asked for letters to send him to Damascus to the places of worship, and that if he found any of this way, whether they were people or women, to  arrest them and bring them to Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, coming near Damascus, A bright light suddenly shined from heaven all around him. He fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you trying to hurt me?” And he said, “Who are you, Christ?” And the Christ said, “I am Yeshua, who you are trying to hurt: isn’t it hard for you to fight against my prods?” And trembling and amazed Saul said, “Christ, what do you want me to do?” And the Christ said, “Get up, and go into the city, and you’ll be told there what you must do.” And the others who went with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but not seeing anyone. And Saul got up from the ground; and when his eyes opened, he couldn’t see anything. So they led him by the hand, bringing him into Damascus. And he couldn’t see for three days, nor did he eat or drink anything.

     [10-22] And there was a certain follower at Damascus, named Ananias; and God said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he answered, “I am here, Christ.” And the Christ said, “Get up, and go to the street named Straight, and ask in the house of Judas for someone called Saul, of Tarsus, because, he prays, and has seen in a vision someone named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him to  give him sight again.” Then Ananias said, “Christ, I’ve heard by many of this person, and how much evil he has done to your people at Jerusalem: And now he has power from the leading priests to arrest all that call on Your Name.” But the Christ said, “Go now because he’s has been chosen by me, to bring My Name to the other peoples, and rulers, and the children of Israel: but I’ll show him the great things he must suffer because of My Name.” And Ananias left, and went to the house, and putting his hands on Saul said, “Brother Saul, God, Yeshua, who appeared to you down the road as you came, has sent me, that you might see again, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And suddenly something like scales fell from his eyes and he could see then.  He got up, and was baptized right then. And after he had eaten, he was strengthened. Then Saul stayed a few days with the followers at Damascus. And suddenly, he began to preach about Christ in the place of worships, that Yeshua was the Child of God. But everyone who heard him were amazed, saying, “Isn’t this the One who killed all those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and came here for that very reason, to arrest them and bring them to the leading priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and shamed the Jews which lived at Damascus, proving that Yeshua was, in fact, the Christ.

     [23-31] And after for a long time had passed, the Jews planned to kill him: But Saul found out about their plan. They watched the gates day and night to kill him, but the followers took him by night, and let him down a window in the city wall in a basket. And when Saul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the followers: but everyone was afraid of him, and didn’t believe that he was really a follower. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the followers, and told them how he had seen Christ on the road, and that the Christ had spoken to him, and how he had preached without fear at Damascus in the Name of Yeshua. So he was with the followers at Jerusalem, coming and going with them. And he spoke without fear in the Name of Christ Yeshua, and argued with the Greeks, who tried to kill him. So when the Christians found out, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him to Tarsus. Then the churches had rest throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and grew. And walking in the fear of God, and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, their numbers grew greatly.

     [32-43] And then, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down to the Christians who lived at Lydda, also. And Peter found someone named Aeneas there, who had been bed-ridden for eight years, and was paralyzed. And Peter said, “Aeneas, Yeshua the Christ makes you well: Get up, and make up your bed.” And suddenly, he got up. And everyone that lived at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to Christ. Now at Joppa, there was a certain follower named Tabitha, which means Dorcas. This woman was always doing good things and loved everyone. And then in those days, she got sick, and died, who they had washed, and lay in an upstairs room. And So as Lydda was near Joppa, the followers had heard that Peter was there, so they sent to two people, hoping that Peter would come quickly. So Peter got up and went with them, and when he came, they brought him to the upstairs room. All the widows stood around crying, and showing him the coats and clothes which Dorcas had made, while she was alive. But Peter put them all out, and kneeling down to pray; and turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, Get up.” And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter she sat up. And Peter gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in all the Christians and widows, and showed them that she was alive. And it was made known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Christ. And then Peter stayed for a long time in Joppa with someone named Simon, who was a tanner.

    10 [1-8] There was someone in Caesarea named Cornelius, a soldier of the Italian band. He was a dedicated person, who believed in God along with his whole family, who gave many gifts to the people, and always prayed to God. He saw in a vision at about three o’clock in the day clearly an angel of God coming to him, and saying, Cornelius. And when he saw it, he was afraid, saying, What is it, Christ? And the angel said, “Your prayers and your gifts have gone up as a memorial to God. Now send to Joppa, and call for someone named Simon, whose is called Peter, who lives with another named Simon, who is a tanner, whose house is by the sea shore: he’ll tell you what you need to do. And when the angel who spoke to Cornelius was gone, he called two of his household workers, and a dedicated soldier of those who waited on him continually; And when he told this to them, he sent them to Joppa.

     [9-18] The next day, as they went on their journey, and came near the city, Peter went up on the rooftop to pray about noon: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while it was being made, he fell into a trance, and saw heaven open up. And something like a great sheet knotted at its four corners came down to him, which was let down to the earth. All kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, insects, and birds of the air were in the sheet. And a voice spoke to him, saying, “Get up, Peter; kill, and eat.” But Peter said, “No, Christ, I’ve never eaten anything that is common or bad for me.” And the voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God says is good, don’t call evil.” This happened three times, and then the sheet was taken up again into heaven again. Now while Peter was wondering what this vision that he had seen meant, those who were sent from Cornelius had asked where Simon’s house was, and stood at the gate, asking whether Simon, who was nicknamed Peter, lived there.

     [19-33] While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said, “Three people are looking for you. So get up, and go down stairs. Go with them, doubting nothing because I’ve sent them.” Then Peter went down to those who were sent to him from Cornelius; saying, “I’m the One you’re looking for. Why have you come?” And they said, “Cornelius, the soldier, a good person, who believes God, and has a good name among the whole nation of the Jews, was told by God through a holy angel to call you to come to his home to hear what you have to say.” Then he called them in, asking them to stay for the night. The next day Peter went away with them, along with some Christians from Joppa, who went with them. And the next day they came to Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called all his kin people and close friends together. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met them, and bowed down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, stand up; “I’m just a man, myself.” And as he talked with them, they went in, and found that many people had come together. So Peter said, “You know how it’s not proper for a Jew to keep company, or come to the house of someone from another nation; but God has shown me that I shouldn’t call anyone common or evil. So I came to you without arguing, as soon as I was sent for: So I ask why you’ve sent for me?” And Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was going without food until this time; and at three o’clock I was praying in my house, and someone came to me in bright clothing, and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer is heard, and your gifts are remembered in the sight of God. So send to Joppa, and call Simon, whose nickname is Peter, who lives in the house of someone named Simon, who is a tanner by the sea shore. When he comes, he’ll speak to you.’ So I sent to you right away; and it’s good that you’ve come. So now that we’re all here before God, we want to hear everything that God has told you.”

      [34-43] Then Peter began telling them, “The truth is, I realize now that God doesn’t favor One person over another: But in every nation whoever believes God, and does good things, is accepted by God. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preached peace by Yeshua the Christ, who is the Christ of all. That Word, I say, and you know, was published throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached. God anointed Yeshua of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, because God was with the Christ. And we’re witnesses of everything which the Christ did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they killed and hung on a cross. But God brought the Christ back to life on the third day, who was openly seen; Not by all the people, but to the witnesses chosen by God, those of us who ate and drink with Yeshua after the Christ rose from the dead. And the Christ told us to preach to the people, and to tell others that it’s Yeshua who was chosen by God to be the Judge of both those alive and dead. All the great preachers have witnessed that through the Name of Christ, whoever believes in Yeshua the Christ will be forgiven of their sins.”

     [44-48] While Peter was speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard it. And the Jews who came with Peter and were believers were amazed, knowing that the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the other peoples also, when they heard them speak with other languages, and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone deny them water, that these people shouldn’t be baptized, who have gotten the Holy Spirit just as we did?” And Peter told them to be baptized in the Name of Christ. Then the people asked them to stay a few days.

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