Saturday, July 08, 2023

2023.07.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 22:1–21

Read Acts 22:1–21

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Paul call the crowd (Acts 22:1)? What does he ask them to do? Why do they quiet down all the more (Acts 22:2)? What six things does he identify about himself in Acts 22:3? With whom does he especially identify? What had he done (Acts 22:4)? Who could attest to this (Acts 22:5)? Where was Paul going to do what? But what appeared to him (Acts 22:6)? And what happened to him (Acts 22:7)? And what did he hear? What did the voice ask? Whom did it say Paul was persecuting? What did Paul ask in answer (Acts 22:8)? How did the Lord answer? Who else saw the light (Acts 22:9)? But what couldn’t they hear? When Jesus identified Himself, what then did Paul ask (Acts 22:10)? How did Paul make it to Damascus (Acts 22:11)? Why? Who came to him (Acts 22:12-13)? What did he tell Paul to stand and do (Acts 22:13)? And what did Paul do? For what three things was Paul chosen (Acts 22:14)? What is Paul to do with this knowing, seeing, and hearing (Acts 22:15)? What does Ananias now command Paul to do (Acts 22:16)? Where had Paul gone on this mission (Acts 22:17)? Whom did he see and hear there (Acts 22:18)? Now what was He telling Paul to do? Why? What did Paul think would make his testimony more believable (Acts 22:19-20)? What information does the Lord Jesus add to His command in Acts 22:21?

How should believers give their personal testimony? Acts 22:1–21 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty-one verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that believers should see themselves in terms of Who Jesus is and what Jesus has done, and they should tell about themselves in terms of Who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. 

Paul has heard a speech begin “Brethren and fathers” before (Acts 22:1, cf. Acts 7:2). And his heart has been breaking to see them saved: “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.” 

He strongly identifies not only with them as countrymen but even with their currently misguided zeal (Acts 22:3). So, he has been questioned about himself (cf. Acts 21:33, Acts 21:38), but his real desire is to tell them about Jesus. The apostle takes them quickly to the point of intersection between himself and the Lord Jesus, where he tells them several key things about the Lord.

Jesus is not only human but divineActs 22:6-7Acts 22:9. He shines from heaven brighter than the sun. And He speaks from heaven (apparently in Paul’s head, verse 9b). 

Jesus is united to His people, Acts 22:7. It’s not just Christians that Saul persecuted then, and that the Jews are persecuting now, but Christ Himself. He receives what is done to them as done to Himself (cf. Matthew 25:40).

Jesus is still fully humanActs 22:8. The glorious being Who shines and speaks from heaven identifies Himself as from Nazareth! He continues in His true humanity to the end of the world. This is proof of the hypostatic union: the union of the two natures in the single divine hypostasis (Person) of the Son.

Jesus rules His people in the midst of providence that He also rulesActs 22:10-12. Not only does He command Paul where he should go, but He also rules and overrules what will occur, so that He can tell Paul what will happen.

Jesus’s commands have their own power and authority in themActs 22:13. Telling a blind man to receive his sight is like telling a crippled man to rise or a dead man to live. But Paul immediately obeys, not from any virtue in himself but from the life and strength of God given to him by the Word. 

Jesus redeems people for HimselfActs 22:14. Interestingly, Paul’s primary calling is Godward, Christ-ward. He was chosen to know the Lord and His will. To see the Just One, the Lord Jesus Christ. To hear the voice of His mouth. We are given to see Him and hear Him too. Though by faith, not by sense, faith is the greater seeing and hearing.

Jesus employs those whom He redeems for HimselfActs 22:15Acts 22:17-21. He calls Paul to be His witness, and that in specific places and to specific people. Their hearing and believing comes not by how airtight the evidence or testimony is (Acts 22:19-20), but by the Lord’s own intent to save them (Acts 22:21). Jesus knows who will believe, because He is the One Who gives them faith. It is a great encouragement when He makes you to hear the gospel, then. So, what are you waiting for? Call upon the Name of the Lord?

Jesus redeems sinners from their sinActs 22:16. “Rise and wash away your sins” is more difficult even than “receive your sight.” But the Lord gives Him a sign and seal that it is as true as his restored sight: “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins.” How marvelous that for sinners like Paul, and that Jewish multitude, and every beloved reader of this devotional, Jesus offers cleansing!

Whom have you told, recently, about the Lord Jesus? Who is He? What has He done for sinners? What has He done for you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You and praise You for coming in human flesh to win our salvation and for reigning, in that same human flesh, now upon the throne of glory. Rule and overrule all things to bring Your elect to saving faith, we ask in Your own Name, Lord Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP110B “The LORD Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH438 “I Love to Tell the Story”

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