New Testament Stories My Daddy Told Me
PAUL’S SPEECH IN THE TEMPLE (Acts 22:1-30)
By Wayne S. Walker
After he had arrived in Jerusalem, Paul, beset by an unruly mob of Jews and rescued by the Roman commander, asked to speak to the people. He addressed his audience as “Brethren and fathers” and asked them to listen to his defense. When they heard that he spoke Hebrew, they quieted down. He first told them about his past life as a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel. He even had persecuted what he called “this Way.” In fact, he had headed from Jerusalem to Damascus to do likewise.
Next, Paul spoke of his conversion. As he neared Damascus about noon, a great light shone from heaven, and he heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Paul asked who it was, and the reply was, “I am Jesus of Nazareth.” At this point, Paul accepted the obvious conclusion of the evidence plainly before him and asked, “What shall I do, Lord?” He was ordered to go into the city where he would be told what to do. Since he could not see, his companions led him into Damascus. There a disciple named Ananias came to him, returned his sight, explained why Jesus had appeared to him, and commanded him to arise and be baptized and wash away his sins.
Finally, Paul mentioned his new life. After spending some time in Damascus, during which period other accounts indicate that also went into Arabia a while, he returned to Jerusalem. He was praying in the temple, and the Lord spoke to him, warning him to flee Jerusalem. The earlier record in Acts says that some of the Hellenist Jews with whom he was disputing were plotting to kill him and that when the brethren found out, they took him to Caesarea and sent him to his hometown of Tarsus. He said that the Lord told him that he would be sent to the Gentiles. The prejudiced, nationalistic Jews listened until this point, but when he mentioned the Gentiles, they cried out, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!”
At this time, another riot broke out, with various people saying different things, and the Roman commander had to snatch Paul away again. He ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks and be examined by scourging. However, Paul asked a centurion if it was lawful to beat a Roman citizen. The centurion warned the commander to be careful. The commander asked Paul if he were a Roman citizen. When Paul answered yes, the commander said that he had purchased his citizenship with a large sum, but Paul responded that he had been born a citizen. They left off examining Paul because the commander was afraid since he had bound a Roman citizen uncondemned. But he still needed to find out why Paul was being accused, so the next day, he took Paul before the Jewish council.
- Where was Paul born?
- Who had been his teacher in Jerusalem?
- On the way to what city did the Lord appear to Paul?
- Who explained God’s plan to Paul and told him what to do to be saved?
- Why did Paul leave Jerusalem?
- Where did he go?
- To whom did God say that He would send Paul?
- How was the Roman commander planning to “examine” Paul?
- What made the commander change his mind?
- Where did the commander take Paul in an attempt to find out why he was accused?