Acts 22:14, 15
And he said, The God of our fathers has chosen you, that you should know his will, and see that Just One…
The apostle himself elsewhere speaks (Romans 11:29) of" the gifts and the calling of God;" and of them he says that they "are without repentance." The glorious occasion to which he gives prominence in the words of these verses exhibits the "calling" first, and the "gifts" next. At the same time, this same passage describes the calling of God (separate and sovereign act though it be in itself) as introductory to responsibilities, privileges, and gifts that followed upon it. There is not such a thing as a calling of God, to lie dormant. There is not such a thing as a calling of God, to terminate in the mere use or enjoyment of the person called. A calling of God infers a commission consequent upon it - nay, nothing less than involved in it under any circumstances. Here, however, it is not implied only, it is expressed as well, and that in a very significant mode. For immediate upon the mention of the calling or choosing comes that of -
I. A GREAT QUALIFICATION.
1. The Christian apostle, minister, teacher, must be one who "knows the will" of God.
2. He must be one who knows it very directly from the fountain-head. Hearsay will not suffice, imagination will not suffice, reason will not suffice.
II. A GRAND PRIVILEGE IN CONNECTION WITH THAT QUALIFICATION. Though Paul "was as one born out of clue season," these things are vouchsafed to him, namely, to "see" and to "hear" the "Just One." Some think Saul had seen Christ in the flesh. This passage may contribute something confessedly inconclusive to the disadvantage of the supposition. It is overwhelmingly improbable, in that Paul never speaks of it, as surely he would have done if it had been the case, even as he speaks of having seen Stephen and assisted at his martyrdom. This great grace, however, is now vouchsafed to Saul, that with vision of thousandfold force he is given to see the very Jesus ascended, and that with a keenness to hear beyond anything that he had experienced before he is granted to hear the own voice of the glorified Man Jesus. It is not that Saul had earned the gift - nay, it is not that to the end of a devoted life of fullest self-surrender he will ever be able to earn the gift. Paul is the disclaimer of merit. Nor is all the grace for Paul. How many lesser successors to him have taken their share of benefit, and the whole Church its share, when these have recalled that Jesus teaches:
1. How near a connection is necessary between himself and his servant-pioneers of the truth and heralds of salvation.
2. To this end how near he is willing to condescend to come to those servants.
3. And how he would embolden them to draw near to him in most believing faith and most loving trust of the heart, when the times should be such that he would no longer come in vision to them.
III. A VAST RESPONSIBILITY. It needs an angel intellect and an archangel heart to set an estimate at all equal to the truth upon the work committed into human hands when the ministry of Christ is accepted by them. They are then "witnesses for Christ to men." And three features of their great responsibility are here shadowed forth.
1. They are witnesses to a living One, a Personage, and not to a mere truth.
2. They are witnesses to him of the things that they know of "the Word of life" (1 John 1:1), through having seen him, heard him, looked upon him, and handled him, all in the deepest sense.
3. They are witnesses" to all men," as far as they can possibly in any way reach all men, and under any circumstances to all impartially. Deep was the impression that these communications (unmentioned elsewhere) had made on the mind of Paul. The words of Ananias, inspired most freshly as he was from the source, had dwelt deep-stored in his memory. And now, some twenty-five years afterwards, at a crisis most opportune, they come to the surface, they are full-charged with their own vitality; and are practically commended by Paul as embodying the charter of all who should be "witnesses for Christ." - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.