Chapter Twenty-Two — Part One: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 01/15/2023Foundation Scriptures:
1. Addressing the Jews.
a. Acts 21:40 NKJV — So when he had given him permission, Paul stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying,
b. The commander gave Paul permission to address the people.
c. Paul stood on the stairs above the people and motioned with his hand for them to be silent.
d. When they were completely quiet, he began to address them, calmly and kindly (considering the circumstances) in their native Hebrew tongue.
e. Acts 22:1 NKJV — “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.”
f. He addressed the Jewish people, not as a stranger but as one of them, in their own language.
g. Defense (Greek apologia) — verbal defense: speech in defense; a reasoned statement or argument; answer for oneself; clearing of oneself.
h. Every accused person had the reasonable right to a defense and to be heard.
i. Acts 22:2a NKJV — And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent.
j. Perhaps they were surprised to hear him speak to them in Hebrew.
k. It is a great advantage to be able to speak to people in their own language, especially when sharing a very important message, such as the Gospel.
l. As Paul begins to speak, he is demonstrating to the commander that he is not an Egyptian rebel, and to the Jews that he is one of them, and not an enemy.
m. What he did in preaching to the Gentiles was done by divine commission, which he proceeds to unveil to them.
2. Paul’s Defense.
a. Acts 22:2b-3 NKJV — Then he said: 3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.
b. Paul was born a free man, in a recognized and reputable city.
c. He was a full-blooded Jew, a gentleman, and an attentive and learned scholar.
d. He was educated in Jerusalem by Gamaliel, the best instructor in the Jewish world at that time.
e. Therefore, Paul would have been well versed in the Jewish religion.
f. Acts 22:4 NKJV — I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,
g. Paul was more highly educated and had been more zealous for the Jewish religion than most in the crowd he was addressing.
h. Indeed, before his conversion, he was so overly zealous for the Jewish religion that he personally became an aggressive persecutor of the earliest Jewish Christians (Acts 9:1-2; 13-14).
i. Acts 22:5 NKJV — as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.
j. The high priest, the council, and the elders knew Paul and they knew his history.
k. If they were being honest, they could verify his testimony.
l. The last thing he desired to do, without divine intervention, was to become a Christian.
m. Acts 22:6 NKJV — “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me.
n. He begins to share with them his powerful encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus.
o. Acts 22:7-8 NKJV — And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 8 So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’
p. When men persecute Christians, they are persecuting Jesus Christ, and fighting against Him.
q. Acts 22:9-11 NKJV — “And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. 10 So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.
r. Those who were with him were witnesses to this encounter, and no one could deny that it was real.
s. As a sign to Paul, and the others, he was blind for three days.
t. Acts 22:12-14 NKJV — “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him.
u. Ananias, a devout and respected man, was sent by the Holy Spirit to open Paul’s eyes, both physically and spiritually.
v. He brought the Word of the Lord to Paul.
a. Acts 22:14 NKJV — Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.
b. God chose Paul (Gal. 1:15-16):
- He was chosen to know God’s will.
- He was chosen to see Jesus (1 Cor. 9:1; 15:8; 2 Cor. 12:1-4).
- He was chosen to hear His voice.
- He was chosen to be a special witness to all people—both Jews and Gentiles.
c. Acts 22:15-16 NKJV — For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’
d. Paul received his sight, was saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and baptized in water.
e. Paul became a Christian and received the call to ministry—to give his life for the sake of the Gospel.