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17 “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance 18 and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ 19 So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. 20 And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’  

 

Verses 17-21 relate Paul’s commission from God in the Temple after his conversion (Acts 9:26-30). This experience showed the apostle’s respect for the Temple, in contrast to the Jews’ accusation that he had attempted to defile it.  

22:17 

“Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance  

Paul returned to Jerusalem after three years in the Nabataean Arabian desert (Ga 1:17-18). After his return to the city of Jerusalem, he had a trance in the Temple while praying.  

22:18 

and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’  

Jesus appeared to Paul in a trance (dream) and ordered him to leave Jerusalem quickly because the Jews did not receive his testimony about his encounter on the Damascus Road.  

22:19 

So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You.  

Paul’s response to the Lord was that the Jews knew about his persecution of Christians.  

22:20 

And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 

Paul harked back to the time of Stephen’s martyrdom and related how he consented to Stephen’s death and even guarded the clothes of those who killed him.  

22:21 

Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’ ” 

During the trance, Jesus told Paul that He would send him to the Gentiles. The point here is that Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles was wholly within God’s purpose. After his mention of the Gentiles, the Jews wanted to hear no more of what the apostle had to say.  

PRINCIPLE: 

Accepting God’s challenges to us is an essential aspect of living for God.  

APPLICATION: 

Paul interpreted his call as a challenge to reach Gentiles for Christ (Acts 22:10, 21; Ga 1:16). When we read Scripture about sharing our faith or encouraging Christians, we should accept that challenge. God will bless us for it.   

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