But rise, and stand on your feet: for I have appeared to you for this purpose…
The charge given by the manifested Savior to the stricken and awakened Saul is one which, in a true sense, though in smaller measure, we can apply to ourselves. We look at -
I. THE TWOFOLD RELATION IN WHICH HE WAS TO STAND. "To make thee a minister and a witness." Paul was to be
(1) related to Christ as his servant, and to be
(2) related to his fellow-men as their teacher. We are to engage in every Christian work as those who carry with them everywhere a sense of obedience to a Divine Master. We are to do and say nothing which we feel that he does not desire us to do or to say. We are also to feel flint, in regard to our fellows, we are as those who have a Divine message to deliver. If we are content to expound our own views, to establish our own position, or to secure a large following for ourselves, we fall miserably short of our true vocation; we are called to convey Christ's message to mankind.
II. THE TWOFOLD SOURCE WHENCE HE WAS TO DRAW HIS MESSAGE. He was to bear witness "both of these things which he had seen, and of those things in the which Christ would appear unto him" (ver. 16). Not only was he to narrate what he already knew, but he was to convey and enforce the truths which were soon to be revealed to him. We are to draw continually on this double source. We are
(1) to repeat the facts and truths with which past experience and study have made us familiar; and also
(2) to unfold those later and maturer views which our Lord will be revealing to our open and inquiring minds.
III. THE TWOFOLD PROTECTION OF WHICH HE WAS ASSURED. "Delivering thee from the (Jewish) people, and from the Gentiles" (ver. 17). He was to encounter serious perils and difficulties, but he would escape the one and surmount the other. He would find himself opposed and thwarted by the Jews and the Gentiles, by those who were "nigh" and by those who were "afar off," by the children of privilege from whom he might have hoped to receive help, and by the sons of ignorance from whom he might have expected to endure hostility. By whomsoever assailed, the Divine Savior would be his defense. We, too, may expect to be opposed by two parties - by those within and by "them that are without," by the heirs of privilege and by the aliens and strangers. If we are faithful and trustful, we may safely cast ourselves on the care of our Divine Friend, who, if he does not save us from, will assuredly save us in, the disappointments and the sufferings which will threaten us as champions of his cause.
IV. THE TWOFOLD ISSUE OF HIS WORK.
1. Spiritual illumination. Those to whom he was to go would turn "from darkness to light," their "eyes having been opened." Having been blind to the existence, or to the nature and character, or to the claims of God; or blind to the worth of the human soul, or to the true end and aim of human life, or to the solemnity of death and judgment; or blind to the excellency of holy service, to the beauty of holiness, to the blessedness of consecration and self-denial; they were to perceive, to understand, to rejoice in the truth, to walk in the light. Their experience in the spiritual realm would answer to his in the material world who should awake from blackest night to brightest day.
2. Deliverance. "From the power of Satan irate God" (ver. 18). In ignorance and sin men are the bondmen of the evil one, held in his cords, subject to his sway. Delivered from the power of sin, they become the freedmen of Christ; they walk in "the glorious liberty of the children of God." From a degrading bondage they are rescued, that they may rejoice in a holy, elevating freedom.
V. THE TWOFOLD BLESSING HE WAS TO PROMISE.
1. Forgiveness of sins.
2. Sanctification - "that they may receive," etc. (ver. 18). Immediately on the exercise of faith they were to receive the abounding mercy of God, that "forgiveness which means not only the not holding them under condemnation, but also the positive reception of them into Divine favor, the admission of them to the Father's table, the reinstatement of them into all the privileges of sonship. And gradually they were to rise into a state of sanctification, leaving old and evil things behind, and reaching forth to that which is before; attaining to the stature of Christian manhood, becoming holy even as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16).
VI. THE ONE CONDITION ON WHICH HE MUST INSIST. By faith that is in me." Every blessing promised was and is to be attained by faith in Jesus Christ himself. Not the acceptance of a creed, nor admission to a Church, nor submission to a ceremony, but a living faith in a living Savior; the cordial acceptance of Jesus Christ himself as the Divine Savior, the rightful Lord, the all-sufficient Friend of the human heart. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
WEB: But arise, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you a servant and a witness both of the things which you have seen, and of the things which I will reveal to you;