Speaking Their Language – Acts 22

To start where Chris left off. Paul is speaking to the Jews in their own language. The way Luke wrote this just gets you attention, he write “when they heard them in his own language the silence became greater.” This just proves that when we talk to people we need to speak their language and be able to reach them where they are. Paul begins by setting out his credentials and telling the crowd that he is a Jew and was educated under Gamaliel, which was one of the top teachers of the day.

Paul then begins to let the people know how he persecuted those that followed “the Way” until he ran into Jesus on the road to Damascus. This is where Paul begins to tell his story on how he was changed, once I was blind but now I see. Paul continued to tell the story of how his blindness was healed by Ananias. After his sight returned Ananias speaks into his life regarding the mission that God had in store for him.

Paul then begins to share about how the Lord told him to leave Jerusalem and go to the Gentiles. I can just imagine the reaction of the commander trying to figure out all the commotion. Paul had just been speaking a language that he could not understand and so the commander decides that he will probably have to beat Paul to get the information out of him. This was just about to happen until Paul, while he was being tied up, said “is it legal to whip a Roman Citizen without a trial.” I could only guess that Paul said this in the very last moment to draw attention to the situation. So the commander comes over and asks him the question about his citizenship. Paul say’s,” yes I am a citizen of Rome” and the commander say, “so am I and it cost me a lot of money.” The next thing Paul says, is like trumping your opponent in a card game, “but I was born a citizen.” What a great ending to see the commander and the others step away and get frightened when they realized that they just tied up a Roman citizen without a trial.

The next day we see the commanding officer bringing him before the Jewish council and that is where the chapter ends.

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  1. Julie

    I love Paul’s take with the Jewish people. ‘Hey guys, I understand your position! No one is more steeped in that position than me – but I changed my postition.’ Implication: you can too!
    I also find it noteworthy that even though the early believers thought it was a priviledge to be persecuted, Paul was willing on this beating. No thanks… He pulled the citizenship out to avoid a beating, so it’s OK to attempt to avoid getting beaten as long as it doesn’t require sacrificing the truth.

  2. Bill, I think you are so right about the importance of “speaking the language”. In our culture, that doesn’t necessarily mean knowing a foreign tongue, but being able to meet people where they are. Too many Christians talk in a language that is foreign to most of the world, using words like eschatology, etc. But we also need to be careful about other terms that are very commonplace in church circles, like “saved” and “born again”. I’ve really had to work at removing these from my vocabulary. But I find that when I do, not only does it open more doors for sharing Jesus, but it also makes me work harder at explaining things more clearly which helps solidify my own beliefs.

    I find it odd that the Roman commander and guards in Jerusalem did not know Paul. Given his high status and reputation as a blood-thirsty Christian killer, bringing the prisoners to Jerusalem even to be killed, I would think that they should have known who he was.




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