Entries by David Cook

The Gospel Transforms

Saul baffles the Jews in Damascus. They expect him to defend Judaism against the new movement, but now he is preaching that Jesus is the Son of God (v. 20) and proving that Jesus is the Christ (v. 22). Luke tells of their reaction, they are astonished (v. 21) and baffled (v. 22). Meanwhile, Saul grows more and more powerful. He cannot be beaten in argument and so the Jews plan to kill him instead (v. 23). Here is another example of unreasonable and unreasoning blind belligerence.

A Spiritual Experience

Today’s passage has been the source of much controversy in the church. Peter and John are sent by the apostles to Samaria, they lay hands on the disciples who have previously been baptised in Jesus’ name (v. 16), and they receive the Holy Spirit (v. 17). Whose name should they have been baptised with in order to receive this Holy Spirit? It is clear they were true believers. So why had they not received the Holy Spirit at the time of their repentance, as did the 3,000 in Acts 2 and others elsewhere?.

An Unchanging Gospel

In Acts 2:37, we see deep conviction come upon those who hear Peter’s sermon. Stephen’s speech also arouses a deep feeling. But it was resentment (v. 54), not repentance. Stephen pulls no punches (vv. 51–52). His manner and content is not that of a man looking for acquittal. Yet again we are told by Luke of his fullness in the Spirit in verse 55, as we were previously told in Acts 6:5 and 6:8.