Acts  ◦   Chapter 22

1"My fellow Jews, let me answer the charges brought against me."

2When they heard him speaking in Aramaic, they became silent and listened. Paul said,3"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but I grew up here in Jerusalem. I was one of Gamaliel's students, and received a doctorate in theology with special emphasis on the Law of Moses, and have been just as devoted to God as anyone here today.4I was ruthless in my attack against those who followed this way of salvation, willing to kill if needed. I arrested anyone who I thought was associated with this movement, men or women, and threw them in prison5(as the high priest or anyone of the High Court can confirm). I even got written authorization to take to the Jewish authorities in Damascus, and went there intent on arresting these people and bringing them back to Jerusalem to be punished.

6"As I approached Damascus, around noon, a blazing light from heaven shone all around me.7As I fell to the ground, I heard a voice say to me, "Saul! Saul! Why are you attacking me?"

8I asked, "Who are you, Lord?" "The voice replied, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are warring against.'9My traveling companions saw the light, but they didn't understand what the voice said to me.

10"'What do you want from me, Lord?' I asked." The Lord said, "Stand up and go on to Damascus. There, you will be told the assignment I have for you."11But when I got up, I was blind, so instead of marching into Damascus, my friends led me, holding my hand.

12"Once there, Ananias came to see me. He is a devoted man of God, faithful in his observation of all the instructions given through Moses, and highly respected by the Jews living there.13Standing next to me, he said, 'Brother Saul, see again!' And immediately I was able to see him.

14"Then he said, 'The God of our ancestors has chosen you to understand his purpose, methods and principles, and to see the Perfect One and hear him speak.15You will be his ambassador to all people, testifying to what you have seen and heard.16So don't just sit there; get up and begin your new life of love, and be immersed in water to symbolize the washing away of selfishness and partaking of the Remedy–his perfect character of love.'

17"After returning to Jerusalem, I was talking with God at the temple when I was taken away in a vision18and saw the Lord speak to me. He said, 'Get up now and leave Jerusalem. Don't delay, for they will not believe your testimony about me.'

19"I said to the Lord, 'But Lord, these men will take me seriously because they know I went from synagogue to synagogue imprisoning and beating anyone who believed in you.20And when your martyr Stephen was killed, I stood there approving, and watching over the coats of those who murdered him.'

21"But the Lord simply said to me, 'Leave this place. I am sending you far away to take the Remedy to the non-Jewish people of the world.' "

22The crowd was listening up to this point, but when they heard about God sending Paul with the Remedy to non-Jews, they became enraged and began shouting, "Kill him! Wipe him from the face of the earth! He doesn't deserve to live!"

23As the crowd escalated toward violence, taking off their coats, shouting and throwing rocks,24the commander ordered Paul be taken into the barracks. He ordered that he be flogged, and then questioned to find out why the mob was in such an uproar.25As they tied him to the flogging post, Paul asked the centurion, "Is it legal to flog a Roman citizen who hasn't been found guilty of a crime?"

26Upon hearing this, the centurion reported to the commander, asking, "What do you want to do? This man is a citizen of Rome."

27The commander questioned Paul, "Be truthful: are you a Roman citizen?" "Yes, I am," Paul replied.

28The commander challenged him: "How is that? The price I paid for citizenship was quite high." Paul answered, "I was born a citizen."

29Upon hearing this, the interrogators left the room immediately. The commander, realizing he had chained a Roman citizen, began to worry.

30The commander wanted to find out the truth about why Paul was being accosted by the Jews, so the next day he released Paul and ordered the leading priests and Jewish High Court members to assemble. Then he had Paul brought before them.