Chapter 22: Acts 22: 1-30, sharing testimony to a mob
Heavenly Father, we pray that You will speak to us through the Word. We pray for insight, revelation, Word of knowledge, and Word of confirmation as we seek directions and guidance. We pray that You will bring the pandemic to an end, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-5, 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.
Paul addressed the mob in the Hebrews language by telling his conversion testimony. Greek for dense is “apologia” from which the English word apologetics is derived. The art and practice in defending the Christian faith are called apologetics. He introduced himself as a Jew, born in Tarsus, Cilicia. He was raised as a Jew, studied under Rabbi Gamaliel, was zealous of the law, and persecuted Christian men and women. Many years ago, he went on a witch hunt to Damascus to arrest Christians, armed with arrest warrants from the high priest.
VV 6-8, 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.
At noon, when he was very near to Damascus, a dazzling light shone into his eyes. He fell and heard a voice calling his name, twice, and asking why he was persecuting Him. Paul ask who He was and He answered, “Jesus of Nazareth”.
VV 9-11, 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.
Paul’s companions saw the light but did not hear any voice. Paul asked the Lord what he should do. The Lord commanded him to get up, go to Damascus, and await further instructions. Paul’s companion led him by the hand into Damascus because he could not see.
VV 12-16, 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.
At Damascus, Ananias, a faithful disciple, came to him, calling him brother Saul, prayed for him, and he received his sight. Ananias told Paul that Christ had chosen him to be His witness to all people. Ananias baptised him in the name of the Lord and he was saved.
VV 17-21, 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.
Paul left Damascus and went to Jerusalem. Christ appeared to Paul in a trance and commanded him to leave the city immediately because the Jews were plotting to kill him. Paul was afraid that the Christians would not accept his testimony because he had persecuted Christians and had approved the martyrdom of Stephen. The Lord told him to leave, saying, He would send him to the Gentiles.
VV 22-25, 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?
Paul could not finish his testimony. As soon as the Jews heard the word Gentiles, they were furious and turned into a frenzy. They removed their clothes, threw dust in the air, and shouted: “away with him”. The Roman commander took Paul into the barracks, chained him, and ordered the centurion to scourge Paul. Paul said he was a Roman citizen. Under Roman law, it was unlawful to scourge a Roman citizen before a guilty verdict.
VV 26-29, 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.
The centurion reported to the commander that Paul was a Roman citizen. The commander asked Paul whether he was a Roman citizen. Paul said he was born as a Roman citizen. The commander was surprised because he had to pay a large sum of money to be a Roman citizen.
V 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.
A riot broke had broken out in the temple and the Romans had arrested Paul. Paul’s address triggered another riot and the Romans rearrested Paul. The next day, the Romans sent Paul to be tried under the Sanhedrin;
Paul shared his testimony to defend his faith. His testimony can be broken down into three-part, pre-conversion, conversion, and post-conversion. This is how you should share your testimony. Break it down into three parts, the before, the during, and the after. Write it out, practice it out and share it out.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Paul’s extraordinary testimony. We pray for wisdom to prepare our three-part testimony as an evangelistic tool, in Jesus’ name, Amen.