‘Search Out Who Is Deserving’
DAMASCUS was a thriving city in the first century of our Common Era. Surrounded by orchards, it was like an oasis for caravans arriving from lands to the east. Not long after the death of Jesus Christ, there was a Christian congregation in Damascus. Among its members were Jews who may have become Jesus’ followers during the Festival of Pentecost in Jerusalem in 33 C.E. (Acts 2:5, 41) Some disciples from Judea may have moved to Damascus when persecution arose after the stoning of Stephen.—Acts 8:1.
Probably during 34 C.E., a Christian from Damascus named Ananias received an extraordinary assignment. The Lord told him: “Rise, go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man named Saul, from Tarsus. For, look! he is praying.”—Acts 9:11.
The street called Straight was about a mile [1.5 km] long and ran through the center of Damascus. From the accompanying 19th-century engraving, we get some idea of what the street looked like in ancient times. In view of its nature, Ananias may have had to search for some time to find the house of Judas. Ananias found it, however, and his visit led to Saul’s becoming the apostle Paul, a zealous proclaimer of the good news.—Acts 9:12-19.
Jesus had sent forth his disciples and had told them to ‘search out those who were deserving’ of the good news. (Matthew 10:11) Apparently, Ananias literally searched for Saul. Like Ananias, Jehovah’s Witnesses happily search for deserving ones and are delighted when people embrace the good news of the Kingdom. Finding them makes all the effort worthwhile.—1 Corinthians 15:58.
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The present-day “street called Straight”
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From the book La Tierra Santa, Volume II, 1830