Through the Bible Day by Day
Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
HOW HIS LIFE WAS CHANGED
What a sermon Paul preached! His pulpit, the steps that ascended from the Temple level to the Castle of Antonia. His audience, the frenzied crowds who filled the court below him, but who were calmed to silence as they heard the venerable Hebrew speech, which was unintelligible to the Romans around them. His text, the real and personal interposition of the living Christ to arrest his course of persecution and convert him. Here was a fact, which to the Apostle was the greatest of all facts, namely, that he had seen Jesus Christ, and had been transformed by what he had seen and heard. No light thing could have revolutionized his life. His zeal for the Old Covenant and his persecution of the Christian sect were guarantees of his anti-Christian bias. He was not shallow or fickle, or likely to be moved by anything less than an imperative revelation.
We must obey a step at a time. God says much to us directly, but He loves to employ servants like Ananias, who live in immediate touch with Him. Paul never forgot that salutation, Brother. Be very careful how you treat young converts; they need the kindest and most sympathetic handling as they step out into their new life.
We are chosen of God for three things: to know His will; to see Him; and to hear His voice, Act_22:14.
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;
SAVED FOR FURTHER SERVICE
To the story of his conversion, as given in Act_9:1-43, the Apostle here adds a detailed account of that memorable interview in the Temple, when he questioned the advisability of the Lord’s command that he should leave Jerusalem, and received his final and irrevocable commission to go to the Gentiles. It is a great privilege to be permitted to overhear this dialogue! How close and intimate is the disciple’s relationship with his Lord! God allowed Abraham, Moses, and Jeremiah to reason with Him. He does not crush down our intelligence. It is His own word, “Come, let us reason together.” But there is a point beyond which we may not go, when we must accept without question the final instructions of our Captain.
A free-born Roman was Paul. More than once he had asserted his rights as a Roman citizen, as at Philippi. There are various social and political advantages which we can turn to account in our service of the gospel, but they cannot carry us very far, and ultimately we are better off if we step out upon the unwonted waters, simply because Jesus says, Come!