Saturday, June 16, 2012

Acts, Chapter 9: Hysterical Blindness

Saul still isn't satisfied that he has persecuted enough heretics, so he convinces the high priest to send a letter to all the synagogues saying if they have any among their ranks, to send them bound and gagged to Jerusalem. As Saul is walking to Damascus, a spotlight suddenly shines on him and the voice of Jesus asks why he's persecuting him. Saul, terrified, asks what he should do. Jesus tells him to keep going to Damascus, where he'll find out. When he stands up, he's blind.

Saul is blind for the next three days, and also refuses to eat or drink. We leave him for a brief scene with Ananias, who Jesus also visits, to instruct him to go and find Saul and restore his sight. Ananias is reluctant, having heard the stories of Saul's persecutions, but Jesus says it's all part of his mass-conversion plan.

So Ananias finds Saul and restores his sight. Saul immediately converts to the new religion. He spends a few days resting, eating, and talking to his new disciples, before heading out to spread the word. People are instantly suspicious, remembering how just last week he was acting as the grand inquisitor. So, as is the human response to confusing things everywhere, they decide to kill him. However, his disciples catch wind of the plot and, while the gates are being watched, they lower him from the wall in a basket.

When he gets to Jerusalem he tries to join the disciples, but they're like, 'Uh, just last week you were arresting us. Fuck off.' But one of them, Barnabas, takes pity and tells the others that he's really serious. So they accept him, and he starts preaching and arguing with the Greek Jews, who decide to kill him, so the disciples have to send him away again, this time to Caesarea, then to Tarsus. Immediately afterwards, peace breaks out in the church. Coincidence? I think not.

Next we have a scene with Peter, who is travelling, travelling, travelling. At one point, he stops in Lydda, to heal a man with palsy. This converts the entire town. Next, a woman named Dorcas dies in Joppa. The church members, hearing Peter is nearby, send for him, and he restores her life. More people convert. At the end of the chapter, he's staying with someone called Simon the Tanner, whose house I actually saw near Tel Aviv.

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