But rise, and stand on your feet: for I have appeared to you for this purpose…
This is the kind of ministry which Christ wishes to establish. No other statement is needed. This conception is such as never entered into the uninspired mind, and, in particular, never could have entered into a mind constituted as was Saul's.
I. "RISE AND STAND UPON THY FEET." Here is the typical manliness of the Christian ministry. We do not want crawling, fawning men, but men who can stand up and show their stature and force. The minister, realising Christ's conception, does not apologise for his existence: he stands upon his feet. Jesus did not speak to Saul as he lay down in the dust. He will not send frightened things about His messages and errands; He will have the whole man at his best. But what kind of manliness? Only that manliness which is made possible by Christ. To stand without permission to stand is impertinence; to stand in obedience to Divine injunction is humility. God can make men sit down, roll in the dust of the ground; and it is out of such lying that the true strength comes. If we have not first been laid down by the Divine power, we cannot stand in the Divine strength. The command is a royal command. He who has stood before Christ may well stand before kings. We get over all our nervousness when we are with the Lord. Fear God, and have no other fear.
II. "FOR I HAVE APPEARED UNTO THEE TO MAKE THEE A MINISTER." Then ministers are not man made; they are not turned out by machinery. Only Christ can make ministers. We have forgotten this; we have taken to making a species of ecclesiastical pottery. We do not read, "I have appeared unto thee to make thee an equal, a priest," but "a minister" — i.e., a servant, a slave. There is no mistaking the minister which Christ makes. The seal of Christ is not always the kind we like; but somewhere there is the indubitable sign — in one man in the intellect, in another in the tender heart; here in the eloquence that fills the ear with delight, and there in the pleading, holy intercession that lifts the listening soul into the quietude of heaven.
III. CHRIST MUST NOT ONLY FIND THE MINISTER, HE MUST FIND THE SERMON.
1. "A minister and a witness of these things which thou hast seen." Not "those things which thou hast imagined," invented; so that a man denying thy ministry must first deny thy character. Wondrous ministry! the soul continually upon oath, the voice forbidden to utter anything for the sake of uttering it, and charged to tell what the soul has already heard. No man could have imagined such a call, and especially no man like Paul.
2. "Of those things in the which I will appear unto thee." There is a growing revelation. Christianity has a future as well as a past. Expect the vision; wait for the additional revelation. It will not be anything new in the sense of unrelated, but new in the sense of development, progress from the thing already in the soul. Sometimes we say of a sermon, "How large a sermon from so small a text!" No. In every acorn there is enough to clothe all the mountains of the earth with umbrageous oaks — forests out of which navies might be cut and palaces might be built. There is nothing new in the oak; everything was in the acorn. It is so when Jesus comes to us — the same Jesus, the same grace, the same Spirit, but growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
IV. "DELIVERING THEE FROM THE PEOPLE AND FROM THE GENTILES." Shall I, then, be in the clutch of evil men? Yes; but thou shalt be delivered from them. Every minister has his stormy career if he be a faithful minister. Sometimes a minister will tell you — as if he were preaching his own funeral sermon — that he never had a difference with any human creature. What an awful life to have lived! Hear the light saying, "I never had a battle with darkness!" The true minister cannot have a peaceful and luxurious life. Who wants the minister in his proper capacity? Not the makers of ill-gotten gain, profane men, worldly men, self-idolaters, nor men whose books have never been audited by pure sunlight. Many want him as a companion, a man as well-read as themselves, exchanging the pleasant word; but who wants him as a representative of the throne of God? Let any minister try that course, and he will soon see that it is impossible to be popular.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
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;