Note: Paul’s defense to the mob at Jerusalem.
Acts 22:3 “…brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel…”
Paul may have been born outside Israel, but he was able to grow up and have his education in Jerusalem. He also studied under Gamaliel, one of the Jews’ most respected teachers of the law at that time. This should have given the people reason to believe his defense. Unfortunately, we read earlier in Acts that Gamaliel, for all his knowledge, was not a follower of Christ, at least not openly. His passive way of dealing with the controversy of Christianity showed either indifference or cowardice, neither a good choice for one who was supposed to be a master of the Mosaic law and the scriptures. He should have been able to see and promote that the Way, Christianity, was either totally contrary to the scriptures and fight against it, or that it was the fulfillment of them and become a believer himself.
9 “…they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me”
We know from earlier that those around him heard a sound, but were unable to discern the words. The fact that God spoke audibly to him was witnessed, but the message was for Paul alone.
12 “…Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews…”
Something not mentioned earlier. This would be significant. Ananias wasn’t a backsliding Jew who fell for some new religious doctrine. He was a God worshipper who was devout in the law and his fellow Jews recognized it. If someone such as he followed Christ, there must be something to it.
16 “…Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord”
This was not establishing doctrine of salvation by baptism. Washing with water never has nor never will remove sin. But to show the radical change that has been accomplished in a life, believers are to be baptized, immersed, to show physically what has been done spiritually. They have been buried with Christ for the death and removal of their sins, then resurrected to new life in Him, new creatures. Some day even the defiled physical body will be removed and resurrected as well.
17-21 First time this encounter with Jesus has been recorded. Gives more clarity to Paul’s desire to reach Gentiles.
18 “…get out of Jerusalem quickly…”
God was in control of every situation and was using each for His will and purposes. When Paul was causing a stir before, God moved him out of the way. Now He will use the situation to get Paul to Rome.
22 “…listened to him until this word…”
Prejudice runs both ways. Those listening didn’t even care about Gentiles becoming Jews to worship God. Any mention of Gentiles set them off. But we don’t know what good may have been done. Some who heard Paul’s defense may have become believers. Good lesson. Always take the opportunity to share Christ, even if there seems little chance of success as we cannot see the true definition of success.
29 “…immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him…”
Paul used every advantage at his disposal. Again he uses his Roman citizenship to get the attention of the local authorities. Must have been severe penalties for mishandling Roman citizens.
30 “…he released him from his bonds…brought Paul down…”
Paul was still a prisoner as the commander thought he had committed some crime to cause the uproar. His bonds would have been chains holding a prisoner, not the leather thongs used to bind those getting punishment like slaves. Paul’s citizenship would gain him respect in the commander’s dealings with him, but he would have to remain in custody while he was considered a criminal.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.