Why was it necessary for the Apostle Paul to defend his position and teachings with the “brethren” in Jerusalem?
The answer, I wrote about in a previous Bible Study. Read it and return here to continue with this one.
Consequently, he began his defense “Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my [defense] which I make now unto you” (Acts 22:1).
Whenever we speak the language of our audience and speak to them, they will always listen!
“(And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)” (Acts 22:2).
Here are twelve pertinent facts about the Apostle Paul that we should all keep in mind when we read his letters (epistles).
12 Things About the Apostle Paul That We Should Know
“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” (Acts 22:3).
Are you “zealous towards God”? What’s your emotions towards Him?
“And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women” (Acts 22:4).
These religious leaders were conspirators with the Apostle Paul to work against the Church of Jesus Christ. That may be one reason they hated him so much! They saw him as a traitor to their cause.
How does the world see you relative to the Church of Jesus Christ? In their eyes, are you a representative or an enemy of the same?
“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” (Acts 22:5).
Which Light is Brighter Than the Sun?
Have you had an encounter with Jesus Christ? Like Paul, when you do, you will never forget it!
And it will be like no other experience you ever had. It will revolutionize your life. You will be different!
“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” (Acts 22:6).
However, note too at what time this bright light from heaven appeared. At “about noon”. Midday is the brightest time of the day because there are no shadows. The sun is directly overhead.
“And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 22:7).
Jesus Lives Vicariously Through His Church
When we act or speak against the Church of Jesus Christ we behave against God.
Saul victimized the Believers of the early Church (Acts 22:4). And because the Church is the hearts of the people who believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, when we persecute them, we oppress the Lord.
“And [Saul] answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutes” (Acts 22:8).
Jesus preached an identical dogma while he was explaining that sickness is prison.
He taught his disciples that if they behaved good or bad toward a fellow Believer, then they have acted good or bad respectively against the Lord because He lives vicariously through Believers, (Matthew 25:40, 5).
Therefore, Brethren stop gossiping about the Pastor and the Church. We can’t fight against God and win!
“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” (Acts 22:9).
Paul alone heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him. The others saw “the light” only but didn’t hear the Lord.
Similarly, today He is speaking but not everyone is hearing Him! The Lord speaks to us every day.
“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” (Acts 22:10).
What Did the Lord Tell You to Do?
Paul had a conversation with the Lord. But observe that in order for him to learn what the Lord wanted him to do he had to meet with a representative of heaven.
The Lord didn’t directly tell Paul what to do. Someone else did!
The Lord God will only inform us of what we need to know but sends an envoy of heaven to supply the details.
Has the Lord spoken to you? How could you tell it was Him? Remember, Saul was not doubtful that it was the Lord speaking to him. He knew!
Similarly, when He speaks you should know its Him speaking for His sheep know His voice.
“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” (Acts 22:11).
So, now Saul is in Damascus and he’s about to meet with the representative of heaven that the Lord God sends to speak with him.
What’s the Reputation of the Envoy?
“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, (Acts 22:12).
The Lord sent Ananias to speak to Saul. However, Ananias never told Saul “the Lord sent me”. Yet the persecutor knew.
“Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him” (Acts 22:13).
Additionally, neither men knew each other. Ananias had heard of Saul but never met him. And in turn, he was unknown to Saul.
“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” (Acts 22:14).
When you encounter someone whom the Lord sends to give you a Word, you will know. And such a one won’t need to say “thus sayest the Lord”.
“For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard” (Acts 22:15).
Water Baptism – For the Apostle Paul – Why and How?
Ananias told Saul what the Lord expected of him, then he told him four additional things.
“And now why tarriest thou? [A]rise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
He instructed Saul the Tormentor, to get up, be baptized, why, and how?
I have written about these features of a Believer’s life. Click the link above to read more about them.
“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” (Acts 22:17).
No, the Apostle Paul wasn’t sleeping. While he was praying, he had a vision of God.
“And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me” (Acts 22:18).
Jesus of Nazareth Instructs the Apostle Paul
Even though they knew what Saul did to the Believers of Jesus of Nazareth, they still wouldn’t receive his testimony of Christ.
“And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee” (Acts 22:19).
The Jews were not ignorant of Paul’s former works, but unbelief is blind to the truth that’s is Christ and cares less about our achievements.
“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” (Acts 22:20).
They knew all these things but they will not receive anything he has to say about Jesus of Nazareth. Their unbelief blinded them!
“And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles” (Acts 22:21).
In closing, what we believe concerning Jesus of Nazareth guide our behavior.
The Apostle Paul never believed that Jesus of Nazareth was Lord until he had an encounter with him on the road to Damascus.
This changed his life and that of billions of people globally, including mine.
What You Believe About Jesus of Nazareth Direct Your Actions
Once he was convicted that the same Jesus of Nazareth that he was fighting against is the Lord God, his behavior changed.
It changed because his belief concerning Him changed. Our behavior will always reflect what we believe.
If we believe that Jesus of Nazareth is Lord, we will obey Him and we will become eager to know His plan for our life.
Saul’s behavior changed to the extent that he was no longer the Tormentor of the Church, and so he became the Evangelist of the Church and of Christ.
We never will believe one thing and do something opposite to our beliefs unless we are lying.
Our behaviors always conform to what we believe about anything or anyone.
As a result, once the belief-system of Saul the Tormentor changed, then he comprehends that Jesus of Nazareth is Lord; consequently, his behaviors changed to align with his new beliefs.
Therefore, when the Lord commanded him to be baptized in His name to wash away his sins, he, a Pharisee of the Pharisees, a Jew, whole-heartedly embraced that new move.
Subsequently, he could preach and teach nothing else but Jesus is Lord, crucified and resurrected for the sin of the world.
Finally, what do you believe concerning Jesus of Nazareth?