Acts Chapter 22
Paul’s Address to the Jewish crowd:
(Read 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 explained 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 to 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 (Acts 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. He was told to leave Jerusalem to become a witness of Christ to gentiles” (Acts 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 family, friends, and neighbors so that they might come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and be saved.
Paul Reveals his Roman Citizenship:
(Read Acts 22:22-30)
Paul continued to face opposition from Jews. Yet he took every opportunity to preach the gospel. 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 a 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 (Romans 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 oppose it. Pray that God would help you to share the gospel with others in love.