Acts 22:6
And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
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(6) About noon.—The special note of the hour is not given in Acts 9:3, and may fairly be taken as characteristic of a personal recollection of the circumstances of the great event.



Acts 22:6 - Acts 22:16

We follow Paul’s example when we put Jesus’ appearance to him from heaven in a line with His appearances to the disciples on earth. ‘Last of all, He appeared to me also.’ But it does not follow that the appearances are all of the same kind, or that Paul thought that they were. They were all equally real, equally ‘objective,’ equally valid proofs of Jesus’ risen life. On two critical occasions Paul told the story of Jesus’ appearance as his best ‘Apologia.’ ‘I saw and heard Him, and that revolutionised my life, and made me what I am.’ The two accounts are varied, as the hearers were, but the differences are easily reconciled, and the broad facts are the same in both versions, and in Luke’s rendering in Luke 9:1 - Luke 9:62 A favourite theory in some quarters is that Paul’s conversion was not sudden, but that misgivings had been working in him ever since Stephen’s death. Surely that view is clean against facts. Persecuting its adherents to the death is a strange result of dawning belief in ‘this way.’ Paul may be supposed to have known his state of mind as well as a critic nineteen centuries off does, and he had no doubt that he set out from Jerusalem a bitter hater of the convicted impostor Jesus, and stumbled into Damascus a convinced disciple because he had seen and heard Him. That is his account of the matter, which would not have been meddled with if the meddlers had not taken offence at ‘the supernatural element.’ We note the emphasis which Paul puts on the suddenness of the appearance, implying that the light burst all in a moment. A little bit of personal reminiscence comes up in his specifying the time as ‘about noon,’ the brightest hour. He remembers how the light outblazed even the blinding brilliance of a Syrian noontide. He insists too on the fact that his senses were addressed, both eye and ear. He saw the glory of that light, and heard the voice. He does not say here that he saw Jesus, but that he did so is clear from Ananias’ words, ‘to see the Righteous One’ {Acts 22:14}, and from 1 Corinthians 15:8. Further, he makes it very emphatic that the vision was certified as no morbid fancy of his own, but yet was marked as meant for him only, by the double fact that his companions did share in it, but only in part. They did see the light, but not ‘the Righteous One’; they did hear the sound of the voice, but not so as to know what it said. The difference between merely hearing a noise and discerning the sense of the words is probably marked by the construction in the Greek, and is certainly to be understood.

The blaze struck all the company to the ground {Acts 26:14}. Prone on the earth, and probably with closed eyes, their leader heard his own name twice sounded, with appeal, authority, and love in the tones. The startling question which followed not only pierced conscience, and called for a reasonable vindication of his action, but flashed a new light on it as being persecution which struck at this unknown heavenly speaker. So the first thought in Saul’s mind is not about himself or his doings but about the identity of that Speaker. Awe, if not actual worship, is expressed in addressing Him as Lord. Wonder, with perhaps some foreboding of what the answer would be, is audible in the question, ‘Who art Thou?’ Who can imagine the shock of the answer to Saul’s mind? Then the man whom he had thought of as a vile apostate, justly crucified and not risen as his dupes dreamed, lived in heaven, knew him, Saul, and all that he had been doing, was ‘apparelled in celestial light,’ and yet in heavenly glory was so closely identified with these poor people whom he had been hunting to death that to strike them was to hurt Him! A bombshell had burst, shattering the foundation of his fortifications. A deluge had swept away the ground on which he had stood. His whole life was revolutionised. Its most solid elements were dissolved into vapour, and what he had thought misty nonsense was now the solid thing. To find a ‘why’ for his persecuting was impossible, unless he had said {what in effect he did say}, ‘I did it ignorantly.’ When a man has a glimpse of Jesus exalted to heaven, and is summoned by Him to give a reason for his life of alienation, that life looks very different from what it did, when seen by dimmer light. Clothes are passable by candle-light that look very shabby in sunshine. When Jesus comes to us, His first work is to set us to judge our past, and no man can muster up respectable answers to His question, ‘Why?’ for all sin is unreasonable, and nothing but obedience to Him can vindicate itself in His sight.

Saul threw down his arms at once. His characteristic impetuosity and eagerness to carry out his convictions impelled him to a surrender as complete as his opposition. The test of true belief in the ascended Jesus is to submit the will to Him, to be chiefly desirous of knowing His will, and ready to do it. ‘Who art Thou, Lord?’ should be followed by ‘What shall I do, Lord?’

Blind Saul, led by the hand into the city which he had expected to enter so differently, saw better than ever before. ‘The glory of that light’ blinds us to things seen, but makes us able to see afar off the only realities, the things unseen. Speaking to Jews, as here, Paul described Ananias as a devout adherent of the law, in order to conciliate them and to suggest his great principle that a Christian was not an apostate but a complete Jew. To Agrippa he drops all reference to Ananias as irrelevant, and throws together the words on the road and the commission received through Ananias as equally Christ’s voice. Here he lays stress on his agency in restoring sight, and on his message as including two points-that it was ‘the God of our fathers’ who had ‘appointed’ the vision, and that the purpose of the vision was to make Saul a witness to all men. The bearing of this on the conciliatory aim of the discourse is plain. We note also the precedence given in the statement of the particulars of the vision to ‘knowing his will’-that was the end for which the light and the voice were given. Observe too how the twofold evidence of sense is signalised, both in the reference to seeing the Righteous One and to hearing His voice and in the commission to witness what Saul had seen and heard. The personal knowledge of Jesus, however attained, constitutes the qualification and the obligation to be His witness. And the convincing testimony is when we can say, as we all can say if we are Christ’s, ‘That which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that . . . declare we unto you.’

Acts 22:6-16. And as I made my journey, &c., about noon — For all was done in the face of the sun; suddenly there shone a great light — By whatever method God reveals himself to us, we shall have everlasting cause to remember it; especially when he has gone, in any remarkable manner, out of his common way, for this gracious purpose. If so, we should often dwell on the particular circumstance, and be ready, on every proper occasion, to recount these wonders of power and love for the encouragement and instruction of others. See notes on Acts 9:3-18, where the substance of this paragraph occurs, and is explained. They that were with me heard not the voice — Distinctly, but only a confused noise. And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law — A truly religious person, and though a believer in Christ, yet a strict observer of the law of Moses. The God of our fathers hath chosen thee — Ananias’s giving God this appellation, the God of our fathers, shows that he was himself a Jew by birth, who observed the law of the fathers, and relied on the promises made to them: that thou shouldest know his will — By immediate revelation from himself, Galatians 1:12. And see that Just One — The Lord Jesus, called the Just, or Righteous One, with a reference to the conduct of the Jews, who crucified him under a pretence of his being a malefactor. This is an additional proof to what we read, Acts 9:5, (where see the note,) that Saul did really see Christ, appearing even in a human form; and hear the voice of his mouth — And that in such a manner, as to be taught his will immediately from himself. This was a peculiar privilege to which Paul was chosen, namely, to see Christ here on earth, even after his ascension into heaven! Stephen, indeed, saw him at the right hand of God, but Paul saw him standing, as it were, at his right hand. This honour none had but Paul. Be baptized, and wash away thy sins — Baptism, administered to real penitents, was intended to be both a means and a seal of pardon. Nor did God ordinarily, in the primitive church, bestow this on any person till he submitted to baptism; and this may explain, in some measure, in what sense baptism may be said to wash away sins, and elsewhere to save. See Acts 2:28; 1 Peter 3:21.

22:1-11 The apostle addressed the enraged multitude, in the customary style of respect and good-will. Paul relates the history of his early life very particularly; he notices that his conversion was wholly the act of God. Condemned sinners are struck blind by the power of darkness, and it is a lasting blindness, like that of the unbelieving Jews. Convinced sinners are struck blind as Paul was, not by darkness, but by light. They are for a time brought to be at a loss within themselves, but it is in order to their being enlightened. A simple relation of the Lord's dealings with us, in bringing us, from opposing, to profess and promote his gospel, when delivered in a right spirit and manner, will sometimes make more impression that laboured speeches, even though it amounts not to the full proof of the truth, such as was shown in the change wrought in the apostle.See the notes on Acts 9:3-7.

Acts 22:6

As I made my journey - As I was on my journey.

About noon - Acts 26:13, "at mid-day." This circumstance is omitted by Luke in his account in Acts 9:Paul mentions it as being the more remarkable since it occurred at mid-day, to show that he was not deluded by any meteoric or natural appearances, which usually occur at night.

Acts 22:11

The glory of that light - The splendor, the intense brilliancy of the light. See this and its effects explained in the notes on Acts 9:8.

5. the high priest—still alive.

doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders—the whole Sanhedrim.

As lightning it suddenly encompassed him. But see Acts 9:3, and read on; where this history is set down by St. Luke. And here little more can be taken notice of, than some small variety in the expressions.

And it came to pass, that as I made my journey,.... And had almost made an end of it:

and was come nigh unto Damascus; about a mile from it, as some say,

about noon; this circumstance is omitted in the account in Acts 9:3 and is mentioned here, not so much to inform what time of day it was, that Saul came to Damascus, as to observe how extraordinary that light must be, which then appeared, as follows:

suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me; and not only about him, but those that were with him, Acts 26:13. This must be a great light indeed, to be distinguished at noon, and to be above the brightness of the sun, and to have such effect upon the apostle and his company as it had; Acts 9:3.

And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
Acts 22:6-11. See on Acts 9:3-8. Comp. Acts 26:13 ff. ἱκανόν] i.e. of considerable strength. It was a light of glory (Acts 22:11) dazzling him; more precisely described in Acts 26:13.

Acts 22:10 ὧν τέτακταί σοι ποιῆσαι] what is appointed to thee to do; by whom, is left entirely undetermined. Jesus, who appeared to him, does not yet express Himself more precisely, but means: by God, Acts 22:14.

Acts 22:11. ὡς δὲ οὐκ ἐνέβλεπον] but when I beheld not, when sight failed me; he could not open his eyes, Acts 22:13. Comp. on the absolute ἐμβλέπειν, Xen. Mem. iii. 11. 10; 2 Chronicles 20:24.

Acts 22:6. περὶ μεσημ., cf. Acts 26:12, not mentioned in 9, note of a personal recollection.—ἐξαίφνης: only here in Acts and in Acts 9:3, see note; twice in Luke’s Gospel, only once elsewhere in N.T.; see further on Acts 26:12 note, on the three accounts of St. Paul’s Conversion.—περιαστράψαι: so also in Acts 9:3, nowhere else in N.T., see note above, cf. Acts 26:13, περιλάμπειν (note); the supernatural brightness of the light is implied here in δόξης, Acts 22:11.

6. about noon] The time of the day at which the vision occurred is not noticed in chap. 9, but in chap. 26 the Apostle also mentions that it was “at mid-day,” at which time the heavenly brightness must have been very overpowering to shine above the glare of an Eastern sun.

Acts 22:6. [Μοι, to me) It is an excellent thing when any one is able rightly to narrate in detail his own conversion. Many are so won to the Gospel, unless they have been hardened beyond measure, Acts 22:19.—V. g.]—περὶ μεσημβρίαν, about noon) All things were done in clear day-light.

Verse 6. - Drew nigh for was come nigh, A.V. The phraseology of the following narrative is nearly identical with that of Acts 9:3-6 (where see notes). Acts 22:6About noon

Not mentioned in ch. 9.

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