Paul’s Testimony In The Temple
Book of Acts Chapter 22
When we left off last week many accusations had been made against Paul and then an unruly mob in Jerusalem had attempted to beat Paul to death. Hearing the uproar, Roman soldiers had seized Paul and dragged him away from the Temple.
This riot was quickly put to an end but the Roman soldiers thought that Paul was the focus of the trouble and arrested him.
Paul wanted to make an attempt to speak before he entered the barracks of this Roman Garrison.
So today we get to hear what Paul had to say and we will begin by reviewing two verses in last week’s lesson.
*****Act 21:39 But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.
Act 21:40 And when he had given him license, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying,
These stairs that Paul was standing on led up from the Temple area into the Tower of Antonio Fortress.
Paul had impressed the Roman soldiers with his ability to speak the Greek language but Paul wanted to address these Jews in the Hebrew tongue.
The prophecy of Agabus had come to pass and Paul was now a prisoner and he will remain a prisoner for many years to come.
Paul also had a desire to witness to the Jews in Jerusalem but this was not to be!
*****Act 22:1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
Act 22:2 (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)
Paul had done nothing wrong but he had been accused of bringing a Gentile into the Temple which was not true.
Paul wanted these Jews to understand that in becoming a Christian he had not forsaked nor betrayed his Hebrew heritage.
Paul had found the "fulfillment" of the law and had taught about Jesus as the true Messiah which was a fulfillment of the Old Testament scriptures.
And Paul began by saying here is my defense.
Most every Jew present that day would have clearly understood what Paul said but these Roman soldiers probably did not understand.
*****Act 22:3 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.
We should not forget that Paul had been a leading rabbi in his day so he was certainly known to some of these people in this crowd of specially the high priest and most other Pharisees.
Paul said that he was a Jew.
Paul said he was a native of Tarsus, but raised up in Jerusalem.
Paul said he was trained by Gamaliel who was a highly regarded Pharisee.
Paul said he was a follower of the Law, a zealous persecutor of the church, and a representative of the Sanhedrin council.
*****Act 22:4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
Act 22:5 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.
We know that Paul had consented to the stoning of Stephen and he had actually held the coats of those that stoned him.
We know that Paul had breathed out threatening’s and slaughter against all followers of Christ.
Paul was saying that he understood their zeal for God because he had also been that way until he met Jesus.
Jesus Christ will make a change in each life He touches!
The High Priest was very aware of the letters he had given Paul to extradite Christians back to Jerusalem.
And now Paul began to tell these Jews why he no longer had that point of view.
*****Act 22:6 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.
Paul begins his testimony by telling how he had met Jesus on the Damascus Road.
Paul was headed to Damascus to persecute Christians but instead he was captured by Jesus who he had been persecuting.
In addition, at the noontime hour, there was a light much brighter than the sun that shone upon him and knocked him to the ground.
That great light was from Heaven.
The Apostle Peter said it this way:
2Pe 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2Pe 1:17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
2Pe 1:18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
2Pe 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and [the day star] arise in your hearts:
*****Act 22:7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
The voice that Paul heard came from Jesus himself.
And Jesus asked why he was being persecuted by Saul.
Paul was known by the name of Saul before he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior.
You see Saul became so different he got a new name!
Isa 62:2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.
*****Act 22:8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
The request that Jesus asked of Paul brought forth an answer that was also a question.
"Who art thou Lord"?
We can see from this testimony "that the same Jesus that was from Nazareth", who had been crucified was still alive.
Paul knew that "the official Jewish position was" [that Jesus of Nazareth was an imposter’ who had been crucified and his body stolen from the tomb by his disciples who then started a rumor that Jesus had been raised from the dead.
BUT NOW EVEN Paul had seen the risen Savior!
*****Act 22:9 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.
We do not know how many men were with Paul that day on the Damascus Road. There were some members of the Temple security force. And there would have been some servants.
These men who were with Paul, saw the bright light, and they heard some sounds, but they were not able to understand the words because God intended His Word to be specifically for Paul.
This was not strange because it had happened before.
Joh 12:28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
Joh 12:29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
Joh 12:30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
These men were witnesses of this occasion even though they had not heard the words of the Lord Jesus.
*****Act 22:10 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.
Salvation happens instantly the moment one repents of his sins and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
This experience happened to Paul on that eventful day when he was stopped by God before he reached the city of Damascus and the proof of this is in Paul’s response!
"What shall I do Lord"?
We can see that Paul was humbled by the presence of the Lord and he then surrendered himself to the Lord Jesus.
Jesus responded by telling him to get up off the ground were he and fell and go into the city of Damascus.
After Paul had done this thing then he would be told about "all things" that God had arranged for him to do.
God has a plan for each of us!
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, [to them who are the called according to his purpose].
*****Act 22:11 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.
Spiritually speaking Paul had a brand-new view of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul had began this trip in order to persecute the saints but now it would be one of God’s saints that would inform Paul what he must do for Christ.
Paul was led by the hand to Damascus!
*****Act 22:12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
Act 22:13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.
We are not told a whole lot about Ananias.
But look at what this verse says.
Ananias was a devout man according to the law of Moses.
Ananias had a good report of all the Jews.
Ananias was a Christian.
Ananias was obedient to the Lord.
Ananias was the perfect example for the apostle Paul!
Like many Jewish believers of his day, Ananias continued to observe some of the stipulations of the laws of Moses and that would have enabled him to have an opportunity to witness to the Jews.
But as a Christian, Ananias was obedient to the Lord putting aside his Jewish heritage in favor of his Christian heritage.
*****Act 22:14 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.
Act 22:15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.
That "Just One" was the innocent and the righteous and the holy, Lord Jesus and there never will be another "ONE" like Him.
The Greek word "dikaios" is used here and also more than 80 times in the New Testament, where it is translated as "righteous" 41 times and as "just" 33 times along with a few other words.
There are four things that Paul learns from Ananias:
1) Paul was told that he would know God’s will for him.
2) Paul learned that he would see Jesus again.
3) Paul was told that he would hear for himself what Jesus wanted him to do.
4) Paul learned that he would be a special witness for Jesus.
In other words Paul would get first-hand information directly from the Lord!
Every Christian will get first hand information from and through the Holy Spirit!
Paul had witnessed the glory of Jesus Christ and now Paul would testify to the glory of Jesus Christ!
*****Act 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Baptism may symbolize the washing away of one sins, "just as it symbolizes death to the old life and a rising to the new life in Jesus.
BUT, we do not actually die while in the water and neither can physical water wash away sin!
Sin can only be washed away by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word!
The reality of a new life in Christ Jesus with forgiveness of sins and the assurance of everlasting life can only come through faith in Christ as Lord and the regenerating work of the indwelling Spirit of God.
Sins can only be washed away by regeneration:
Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Baptism is "merely a picture" of what is required for sins to be forgiven.
Paul had yielded himself to the saving power of the Lord, consequently his baptism was the evidence of his sin being washed way.
*****Act 22:17 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;
Act 22:18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
Those words "it came to pass" tells us that some time had passed between the baptism of Paul and his vision of Jesus in the Temple.
The second statement" when I was come again to Jerusalem" shows us that Paul had this vision on at least his second visit to Jerusalem following his salvation.
We also know that Paul remained in Damascus for a while testifying of Christ in the synagogues.
AND, We also know that he went to Arabia and was taught by Jesus.
Paul returned to Damascus after this.
On Paul’s first trip to Jerusalem he met only with Peter and James, the Lord’s brother, who was already the pastor of the church in Jerusalem.
Paul then again returned to Damascus where he remained until he had to flee for his life.
It was probably on the second trip to Jerusalem that Paul went into the Temple courts and he received the vision of Jesus.
It is most probable that Paul was sent to Tarsus after this command from Jesus to leave Jerusalem quickly.
The Lord knew that Paul’s testimony would not be received by the Jews in Jerusalem because they rejected Paul so much they would also reject anything he had to say about Him.
*****Act 22:19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
Act 22:20 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.
Act 22:21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
Paul had good reasons for telling these Jews about his vision in the Temple.
1) It was to prove that God called him to the mission field.
2) This vision disproved the Jewish accusations that Paul was attempting to change the Jews.
3) By telling these Jews that the experience occurred in the Temple, he could counter their suspicions about his opposition to that holy place.
Paul was about to explain why he was involved with the Gentiles but these Jews would not permit him to continue.
No devout Jew, following the Law, would have anything to do with Gentiles!
*****Act 22:22 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.
Act 22:23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,
Act 22:24 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.Paul was faithful to his witness of the Lord and to the Gentiles no matter what it cost him even his life.
Paul could have quit on God at this time but Paul would rather be a prisoner than give up his burden for lost souls and for missions.
So when these zealous Jews heard the apostle say that God had called him to go far away to the Gentiles their indignation was rekindled.
It was the Jews hatred of Gentiles that started this disturbance, so the mention of the word Gentiles again renewed this uproar!
SO, in the eyes of the Jews Paul was worthy of death!
This Roman captain apparently did not understand the Hebrew language but when he saw the commotion he decided that he needed to know more about Paul and scourging was used as a method of torture used in an attempt to seek the truth.
*****Act 22:25 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?
Act 22:26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.
Act 22:27 Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea
This was the second occasion in which Paul used his rights under Roman citizenship as a defense. Paul had already been beaten several times with rods, he had been imprisoned, and had been persecuted in many ways.
However, the Roman scourge was certainly more crippling and could even be fatal so Paul reminded his captors that he had certain rights as a Roman.
*****Act 22:28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.
Roman citizenship was awarded to an individual in one of three ways.
1) It could be by birth if both parents were Roman citizens.
2) It could be by reward resulting from some great service to Rome.
3) It could be purchased at a considerable price.
It is very likely that Paul’s father had found favor with the Republic of Rome by performing some task. Since Paul’s father had earned his citizenship, Paul was born a Roman though Tarsus itself was far from the city of Rome.
*****Act 22:29 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.
This captain became very concerned, because the even arresting a Roman citizen could be called into question.
Roman citizens had many more privileges than noncitizens of Rome!
The soldiers had made two mistakes and they were quick to undo them. They had blamed Paul and had planned to scourge him but they now showed kindness when they knew he was a Roman citizen.
Even God was using the power of Rome to protect Paul and eventually providing a means for Paul to get to Rome. This would be a mission trip financed by the government!
*****Act 22:30 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.
Since Paul was a Roman citizen he could not be held without a reasonable charge against him.
But under the circumstances Paul could not be released because he would be murdered. So, Paul was kept for a time under protective custody.
Therefore this Roman commander called a meeting of the Sanhedrin court to see whether it could be determined if Paul was guilty of any offense.
As we go through the next few chapters we will see that the trials of Paul were "never" any attempt to discover the truth.
Paul had done nothing wrong that would cause imprisonment, let alone death.
But guilt or innocence does not matter when facing an angry mob.
Next week in chapter 23 we will see the accusations against the Apostle Paul.
Then let’s pray!