Online Bible Commentary
You Will be His Witness
Acts 22:12 Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14 Then he said, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15 For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' 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.' " (NKJV)
The time is 57 A.D. Paul and his travel party, including Luke, has returned to Jerusalem after completing his third and final missionary journey. Paul’s reputation as an opponent of Judaism has grown after his three missionary journeys.
Paul is recognized in the temple and dragged out by the Jews. The Jews are in the process of beating him when he is rescued by Roman soldiers stationed at the garrison, a fortress on the temple mount. Paul asks to speak to his Jewish opponents and his wish is granted.
Paul began his defense by giving his background as a faithful Jew, until the Lord struck him down on the road to Damascus in about 35 A.D. He was blinded by a bright light from Heaven and led into Damascus by his companions.
In this passage, while Paul was in Damascus, the Lord sent Ananias to him. Ananias was described as a devout Jew who was respected by the Jews in Damascus (v. 12). Ananias said “Brother Saul, receive your sight” and Paul’s sight was restored (v. 13).
Ananias then said “The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth for you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard” (vv.14-15). In this way, Paul explains to the mob of Jews that their Messiah was the One who chose him to follow and be the witness to all men, including Gentiles, for the Just One, Jesus.
Paul continues to relate the words of Ananias, some twenty-two years earlier, to the mob by saying “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (v. 16). The participle “calling” in the Greek is a participle of means or manner denoting that the calling on the name of the Lord is what causes the washing away of sins, and not the baptism itself.
In Damascus, Paul became a Christian and three years later he came to Jerusalem to escape Jewish persecution. Paul then relates that, while “in a trance” during prayer, Jesus came to him in the temple and told him to leave Jerusalem because the Jews would not accept “your testimony concerning Me” (vv. 17-18).
Paul questioned Jesus by recounting his previous activities as a good Jew, contending that the Jews in Jerusalem would not turn on him (vv. 19-20). But the Lord continued and commanded Paul to “Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles” (v. 21). So Paul, in about 38 A.D., departed Jerusalem for his home in Tarsus.
So, now in 57 A.D., Paul was aware that this Jewish mob in Jerusalem was not his friend. However, this did not deter him from trying again to witness to them for Jesus. He wanted them to understand that the Jewish Messiah was Jesus and that Jesus had called him to be His witness to all men.
Just as Jesus called Paul to be His witness, He has called all Christians to be His witness. We are all to share the Gospel with those whom God puts in our path. Jesus has commanded that “you will be His Witness.”