Address to the Jews
The violent uproar in the city of Jerusalem was now silenced and Paul was given liberty by the Roman commander to speak to the people. This shows how much influence Paul had on all who were in contact with him.
Even in adverse circumstances he uses the opportunity to speak well of his Lord and defend his personal faith in his Saviour. He also observes the Jews and directs his words so they would fully understand his position.
In the past articles we noticed his adaptability to communicate the gospel in a way those who were listening could grasp its simplicity yet its solemnity. Paul at this point stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand. (Acts 21:40)
It says in Nehemiah 8:4, 5
Ezra the scribe stood on a pulpit of wood which they made for the purpose (of communicating), and…Ezra opened the book in the in the sight of all the people (for he was above all the people).”
In order to effectively speak publicly it is always wise to have a raised platform so all can see the speaker. This would depend on where and how many people are being addressed. Some platforms are far too high, causing the impression the speaker is looking down upon his audience. The ideal would be about two steps high so he is more in the company of those he is speaking too.
Another aspect to consider is many podiums are designed for Goliaths and not Davids! It is hard when you cannot get eye contact but are looking over heads. And for their part they hear a voice but see no man.
Also those who control the PA systems often have them too loud or too low so should adjust depending on the voice of the speaker. Most who handle the controls are younger people who have excellent hearing but forget the older ones have a hard time hearing. Just a few things to consider!
First, Paul addresses his accusers in his own Hebrew language making them quiet and ready to listen. He had a wonderful influence in calming crowds down! Not much is accomplished today in public speaking if the people are not silent and have listening ears!
The story of Paul’s conversion has already been touched in previous articles so I will only highlight here what is relative to his present situation. He brings to them his personal background where he was born in Tarsus of Cilicia. Then he tells he was taught by Gamaliel a man greatly respected in Israel. This meant he was taught in the strictness of the law and was as zealous for God as they were. (Acts 22:3)
Here is an important part to consider when dealing with people who are steeped in religious traditions and teachings. While they are blinded and deceived, we must never insult them or speak disrespectfully about their religion. Remember they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. (Romans 10:2) Because of his own zeal Paul could say, “I persecuted this way unto death, binding and delivering into prisons , both men and women.” (Acts 22:4)
He then reminds them that the high priest and council of elders were familiar with those events.
The high priest and group of elders gave him the authority with letters to take those he had chained and order punishment for them. Here he is establishing how compassionate he was for what they themselves were compassionate about!
although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor and injurious, but I obtained mercy for I did it ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which was in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 1:13,14)
For those today who have been saved from the same commitment to their religion, what a message to declare from your own experience! How effective a voice! Much more so than those who have not come from such a background. Many are very fervent in different causes but unaware they are blinded and submissive to satan’s lies.
In his fury Paul is suddenly stopped in his journey. At noon he is blinded by a great light from Heaven and a voice that spoke, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?” In this recounting, he leaves out the question he asked, “Who are you Lord?” But here he says, “Lord What will you have me to do?”
Moving on in his account he stresses what Ananias said,
The God of our fathers has chosen you and you should know his will and see the Just One, and hear His voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men (mankind) of what you have seen and heard. (Acts 22:14,15)
He also brings up the death of the martyr Stephen whose blood they shed and he took his past along with them in it.
Next we will look at the response to what he said.