Daily Devotions

Paul’s own people said he didn’t deserve to live!

Acts 22:20-27

‘Lord, they know I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed in You! And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I too was standing by and consenting to his death and kept the raiment of them that slew him. But He said to me: “Depart, for I will send you far hence, to the Gentiles!”… They heard him till this…. Then they lifted up their voices and said: “Away with such a fellow from the Earth! For it is not fitting that he should live!”‘ Acts 22:19-22.

Calvin comments: “‘Lord, they themselves (the Jews) know (I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed in You)’! Paul makes it known by these words that he was not mentally disturbed….

“Without the shadow of a doubt, he recognized Christ Whom he addressed by the name of ‘Lord’…. But Christ gives the definite reply that He had chosen him for another field of service (among the Gentiles)….

“At the same time, the untameable obstinacy of the Jews is exposed by the fact that they remain unmoved…. Such a reproach…drove them into a fury. ‘Away with such a fellow from the Earth!’…

“Paul’s speech was interrupted by an uproar. For not only do they overwhelm him with their shouting, but they demand his death — which makes it perfectly plain how frenzied their pride is.

“The Jews used to have such pride in themselves that they not only despised the whole world…. So they were now driven violently against Paul, because he had said that he was sent as the Apostle to the Gentiles!…

“It is no wonder that there was so much ferocity in the Jews at that time…. Today, they are completely trampled upon…, and yet do not cease to be swollen with a servile pride. But those are the consequences of rejection, until God gathers together the remnant according to Paul’s prophecy (Romans 11:5[-26])….

“The tribune acted prudently and correctly, in removing Paul from the people’s sight. Since his presence might provoke still further, minds that were already inflamed more than enough….

“In this way, he takes care of the life of the holy man — and partly calms the madness of the people…. It was probable that the whole of the people conspired…for the head of one man….

“‘This man is a Roman!’…. There is no doubt that the tribune obtained full knowledge of the truth, before he untied him…. Paul replies that he was ‘born’ (a Roman citizen)!”

Yet more importantly, since his birth, Paul had also been born again as a Christian! Paul’s own people said he didn’t deserve to live! But God used the Romans to save him as a Christian!