And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus…
I. SHOWS THAT EVEN THEN NOBLE MEN CONNECTED WITH THE GOSPEL WERE BRANDED WITH A NAME OF SCORNFUL CONTEMPT. Coining a name of scorn is not a modern invention. As a rule —
1. In the name there lies concealed a pain-inflicting sting. What a sting was in the name "Nazarenes!"
2. And such names are generally published and circulated by persons who might be expected to act differently — Priests, Scribes, Pharisees and religious persons. And today it is not from atheists, but from persons nominally religious, that Christians receive the cruellest thrusts of scorn.
II. REMINDS US THAT DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS MAY BE GIVEN OF THE WORK DONE BY ONE MAN. Here Paul was a walking pest, a scatterer of contagious evil; elsewhere men could not find words strong enough to express the grateful joy they felt as they witnessed the apostle's work. Thus is it today.
III. STARTS THE REFLECTION THAT THE POSITION AND PURSUITS OF A MAN MAY BE THE OPPOSITE AT ONE PERIOD OF LIFE FROM WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN AT ANOTHER. Twenty-five years before Paul was the ringleader of the opposition raised by priests and Scribes against the sect of the Nazarenes. Such a change is not of rare occurrence now.
IV. GAVE INDIRECT TESTIMONY TO THE THOROUGHNESS OF THE LIFE AND WORK OF THE APOSTLE. As Paul heard himself spoken of as being "a pestilent fellow," etc., a moment's reflection would help him to gather the honey of consolation from the lawyer's rhetoric. All that was said against Paul testified to his zeal and influence as a Christian worker. Had he been an idler the enemies of the Cross would not have thought it necessary to haul him to a bar of justice. If a man finds the world fraternising with him, he may suspect that he is not so loyally zealous in Christ's cause as he should be; but if some worldly Tertullus storms at him he may console himself that his service is a work which incenses a sin-loving world.
V. SUGGESTS THAT SECTARIAN ZEAL MAY BLIND MEN TO THEIR TRUE AND BEST INTEREST. The priests could not conceive it possible that Paul might be right, and they, after all, might be wrong. In fact, they would rather see Paul put to death than have their useless creed and ritual superseded by a gospel which would bring to light life and immortality. The same spirit reigns rampantly among the bigots who today ask, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?"
(C. Chapman, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.