Acts 9:19 – 22
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t this the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and fabbled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.
Saul is now crowed with a halo. He holds a book. Saul, as he will discuss later, was educated, both as a Roman citizen and a Jewish Pharasee. Thus, the book he holds is most likely a text of Jewish scriptures or law. Sitting before him are two men, also reading from a text, possibly following along with Saul’s claims about Jesus’ authenticity, or checking other references for the debate. Yet, they look up at Saul, rather than being burried in the book.
In the left corner, foreground, a man watches and gestures with his right hand in astonishment. In the background, left, a man in purple gestures at Saul, while talking to a man in green. Were they the men questioning whether this was the man who can come to Damascus to imprison the Christians?
The internal changes that come with conversion are often not noticed or doubted by those who continue to hold expectations of how someone will behave. Saul’s reputation was that of one upholding orthodoxy and suppressing radical ideas. When he began to defend Jesus and his followers, questioning, astonishment, and doubt were likely reactions.