God’s servants who are set upon with rage and fury because of their teachings concerning Christ cannot offer a better defense of their doctrine than to relate their own vital experience with the saving power of Jesus Christ. Christianity is not an argument but a life.
1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
2 (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)
3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.
11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.
12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.
14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.
16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;
18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.
23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,
24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him.
25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.
27 Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea.
28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.
29 Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.
30 On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them.
Acts 22:1-3 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 22:4-15 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 22:16-30 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 22:1-16 – How His Life Was Changed
What a sermon Paul preached! His pulpit, the steps that ascended from the Temple level to the Castle of Antonia. His audience, the frenzied crowds who filled the court below him, but who were calmed to silence as they heard the venerable Hebrew speech, which was unintelligible to the Romans around them. His text, the real and personal interposition of the living Christ to arrest his course of persecution and convert him. Here was a fact, which to the Apostle was the greatest of all facts, namely, that he had seen Jesus Christ, and had been transformed by what he had seen and heard. No light thing could have revolutionized his life. His zeal for the Old Covenant and his persecution of the Christian sect were guarantees of his anti-Christian bias. He was not shallow or fickle, or likely to be moved by anything less than an imperative revelation.
We must obey a step at a time. God says much to us directly, but He loves to employ servants like Ananias, who live in immediate touch with Him. Paul never forgot that salutation, Brethren. Be very careful how you treat young converts; they need the kindest and most sympathetic handling as they step out into their new life.
We are chosen of God for three things: to know His will; to see Him; and to hear His voice, Acts 22:14. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Acts 22:14—The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will.
The will of God is general and particular. We may know it generally from the book of creation, the ten commandments, the beatitudes, and the conscience. But, in addition to this, God has a particular will for each of his children. The moon shines on the sea, but there is a special path of moonbeams to the spot where you stand, where you should be born, live, and die; what you should accomplish by your life; with what souls you should be brought into contact.
God comes still, as He did to Paul, with a great summons, calling his own from the midst of their fellows, and entrusting to them the sacred prerogative of knowing, seeing, and hearing. Happy are they who are prepared to arise at once, leave all, and follow. To them it will be given, as to Paul, to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, so as to unfold thorn to others.
You have been chosen to know his will—be sure of this; and if as yet it is not clearly made known, adopt these precautions:
(1) Carefully remove all your preconceptions and prejudices, so that your mind and heart can be a tablet for God to write on.
(2) Set aside much time for waiting on God, in the study of his Holy Word.
(3) Let the glory of Jesus be the supreme consideration with you.
(4) Do not run to and fro, asking your friends and companions what they would recommend.
(5) Wait the Lord’s leisure, nor dare to act unless you are sure that you are in the line of his purpose.
(6) Mark the trend of his providence, for it will certainly corroborate his inner voice.
(7) When you have once made up your mind in faith and prayer, dare to act, and never look back. He will not let you be ashamed. —Our Daily Homily
Acts 22:17-30 – Saved for Further Service
To the story of his conversion, as given in Acts 9, the Apostle here adds a detailed account of that memorable interview in the Temple, when he questioned the advisability of the Lord’s command that he should leave Jerusalem, and received his final and irrevocable commission to go to the Gentiles. It is a great privilege to be permitted to overhear this dialogue! How close and intimate is the disciple’s relationship with his Lord! God allowed Abraham, Moses, and Jeremiah to reason with Him. He does not crush down our intelligence. It is His own word, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). But there is a point beyond which we may not go, when we must accept without question the final instructions of our Captain.
A free-born Roman was Paul. More than once he had asserted his rights as a Roman citizen, as at Philippi. There are various social and political advantages which we can turn to account in our service of the gospel, but they cannot carry us very far, and ultimately we are better off if we step out upon the unwonted waters, simply because Jesus says, Come! —Through the Bible Day by Day