My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.”
We left the apostle in the hands of the, chief captain and his soldiers, who were carrying him away to their quarters.
The request uttered in the Greek language startled the captain.
The best of men are often mistaken for the very worst, nor need they wonder, for their Lord was condemned as a malefactor.
The storm subsided into a lull, and Paul, the bravest of the brave, with the utmost composure proceeded to address the crowd.
; Act_22:3-18; Act_22:21-22
He showed that he had once been as furious against the Christians as they themselves now were: this was intended to win their attention to the rest of his defence.
When baptism is preceded by repentance, and is attended by a believing calling on the name of the Lord, it becomes a beautiful emblem of that washing away of sins, which is graciously given to all believers. Paul told his own conversion, for he well knew that God often blesses such personal confessions. He then proceeded to give his reason for preaching to the Gentiles.
Their national prejudice was aroused: they could not endure that the Gentiles should be spoken of as regarded by God. May the Lord save us from all bitterness and bigotry of spirit.
The Lord stood by him.”
The infuriated mob raved like madmen when Paul had spoken of the Lord’s grace towards the Gentiles.
When the centurion who was appointed to scourge him
Paul’s temper was roused by the unjust conduct of the high priest. His prophecy was fearfully fulfilled: almost at the commencement of the siege of Jerusalem Ananias fell by the daggers of his enemies. We cannot help noting the difference between the meek silence of Jesus, and the indignant reply of Paul.
The apostle obeyed the injunction, “Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” He saw how hopeless it was to plead his cause before so prejudiced an assembly, and therefore he raised another issue. He knew that the Pharisees and Sadducees hated each other even worse than they hated him; and, therefore, he cast in a spark upon their combustible materials, and set them in a blaze. The two parties left their victim, and turned their weapons against each other.
A mid the uncongenial sights and sounds of the barracks, the heart of the apostle would have sunk had it not been for the heavenly visitation. Jesus will not leave his faithful servants alone—he will reveal himself to us when we are in sore distress. Never let us despair, for the Lord has more work for us to do yet.