Paul’s Address to the Jewish crowd: Acts 22: 1-21.
Paul explained to the angry mob about his conversion on the Damascus road. He gave reference to his personal life and experiences. Paul emphasized his Jewish heritage and education under the outstanding Rabbi of that time, Gamaliel. Being a Pharisee, he had great zeal for the law and persecuted the church. Here the church is referred as the “Way of Christ”. Jesus revealed himself to Paul on the Damascus road and asked “Soul, Soul, why are you persecuting me”? Paul asked “Who are you Lord? He was told that “I am Jesus of Nazareth”. Paul was further instructed to go to Damascus where he would meet a devout man named Ananias. He told Paul that God had called him to be a witness of Christ to all men (22:6-15). Paul once hated Christians and he was in complete agreement in the murder of Stephen. But now he is a changed man. Lord said to him “Depart, I will send you far away to the gentiles” (22:21). Personal testimony is always powerful. God has sent us to proclaim the gospel to the whole world. Like Paul, we should be eager to share the gospel with others so that they may be rescued from eternal judgment.
Paul Reveals his Roman Citizenship: Acts 22:22-30.
As soon as Paul mentioned that God commissioned him to preach the gospel to gentiles, the Jews were offended and became violent. They wanted to murder him. Then the Roman commander ordered Paul to be brought into the barracks and be scourged. At this point Paul reminded them that it is unlawful to scourge a Roman citizen who had not been tried. So the commander asked Paul “Tell me, are you a Roman Citizen?”. He assumed that Paul obtained it with great sum of money. Paul replied, “I am a Roman citizen by birth”. He was a citizen by virtue of having been born in the free colony of Tarsus. The commander was frightened because he had bound Paul. He allowed Paul to appear before the council of the Jews to find out the reason why he was being accused. So Paul was released and brought before the Sanhedrin. Jews consider themselves as God’s own covenant people and it is difficult for them to see gentiles are included into it (Rom 11:17-24). But God’s grace reaches out to all. When we proclaim the gospel, we must be willing to endure suffering for the sake of the gospel and show God’s gracious love to those who who oppose it. Pray that God would strengthen us to show his mercy to all those who are lost in their sins through the gospel of grace.