Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,…
I. THE CONDUCT WITH WHICH SAUL WAS UPBRAIDED. He was involved in one continuous struggle against the will, the power and the cause of Christ. The expression does not mean striving against the convictions of his own judgment, for Saul acted upon principle, and was most conscientious when he was most bigoted. Hence he says, "' I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth." This expression indicates one main ground of the apostle's prejudice. Like Nathanael, he was persuaded that no good thing could come out of Nazareth, and that it was his duty to seek the extirpation of the rising sect. In Acts 22:8, express notice seems to be taken of this. Hence we discover, not only the amazing grace vouchsafed in the work of his conversion, but the consummate wisdom displayed in its mode. Saul's grand error had been the entertaining low thoughts of Christ; it was essential, therefore, that the new apostle should be possessed with a deep sense of the power of Christ, as risen and received into glory. The conduct thus exposed is not peculiar to Paul. We kick against the goads —
1. When we seek to stifle the convictions of conscience and strive against the constraints of Divine grace. Saul was not guilty in this respect; but are none of us?
2. When we rebel against the dispensations of God's providence.
3. When we oppose the truth of God, or hinder the work of God.
II. THE WARNING WHICH HE RECEIVED may be considered to characterise his course as —
1. Sinful. Saul might have learned this from the counsel of his master Gamaliel.
2. Foolish; for his resistance was fruitless.
(1) His object was to extirpate the Church of Christ. Little, however, did the oppressor understand that each true disciple was a missionary. "They that were scattered abroad, went everywhere preaching the Word."(2) The apostle, at the instant when the text presents him, was made to realise this to the full. Like some rash fencer, who has provoked a stronger and more skilful than he to mortal combat, and is but instantly disarmed, and lies helpless in the dust, with his adversary's weapon pointed at his heart, the self-righteous and infuriated bigot now lay trembling and astonished, completely at the mercy of the despised Nazarene. The power which frustrated this proud Pharisee was exerted in pity; the defeat itself was love; but still, viewed as a defeat, and merely so, nothing could be more entire and abject.
(C. F. Childe, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,