Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned to him to speak, answered…
I. THAT GOD PROTECTS HIS MESSENGERS. On one side was a multitude of enraged Jewish rulers, who had wealth, prestige, power, an eloquent advocate to plead their cause. On the other side, Paul alone was accused before a corrupt judge. How small the possibilities of his success! Yet God had promised that His messengers, when brought before governors, should be taught by the Spirit what to say. Here is one actual fulfilment of that promise. Paul showed triumphantly that what was criminal in the charge against him was not true, and that what was true was not criminal.
1. He was accused of exciting seditions among the Jews; but he showed that only twelve days before he had passed through Caesarea on his way to visit Jerusalem for the first time in many years.
2. He was accused of heresy. He replied, "I confess that I follow the opinion which they call a sect, and thus worship the God of my fathers."
3. He was accused of profanation of the temple. He replied that the object of his pilgrimage to Jerusalem was to worship in the temple; that the Jews found him in it purified in fulfilment of a special vow. The bold way was the safe way. If he had secretly gone to Jerusalem, and had secretly taught, he would have thrown away his defence, and have prejudiced his cause. The cause of Christ has nothing to do with secrecy. Only the open follower of Christ can claim His promises of protection.
II. GOD FURNISHES HIS MESSENGERS WITH OPPORTUNITIES TO DO HIS WORK. Paul's object was to spread the gospel through the world. But how could the gospel have reached the ears of Roman rulers except through Christian prisoners? Paul used his defence as an opportunity to preach Christ. The Christian measures his success by opportunities to spread saving truth. Paul's most glorious opportunities were in prison. The Christian often remembers scenes of suffering as the most wonderful marks of God's favour.
III. THE CHRISTIAN GROWS IN GRACE WHILE FIGHTING OUTWARD FOES (ver. 16). If you press the gospel on others, you will have the greater motive to illustrate its power over yourself by abstaining from sin, and showing the peace, joy, charity, which are its fruits.
(A. E. Dunning.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself: