Acts 22:16-20
Acts 22:16 (KJB)
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
So Ananias knew that Saul had a calling upon his life directly from the Lord, so he asks Saul, why are you tarrying? It is time to begin your Christian walk. First, you must be baptized according to the word of the Lord. This would have been Saul’s testimony as to what happened in his life. Then he was told to wash away his sins by calling upon the name of the Lord. (Rom 10:13 KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. No sins can ever be forgiven through water baptism as it is only a symbol of our testimony to our salvation. When someone calls upon the name of the Lord, it means that their spiritual eyes have already been opened because those who are still spiritually dead are still unable to call on the name of the Lord unless their souls have been resurrected. (1 Cor 6:11 KJV) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. We are washed, sanctified, and justified by the Holy Spirit, not water baptism.
Acts 22:17 (KJB)
And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;
Paul does not give any details about what happened in Damascus beyond the situation with Ananias. He now tells them that he had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple. He then states that he was in a trance. The word in the Greek states that he was not in a trance where he lost consciousness but the type of trance he was in was being totally overwhelmed, being taken from the normal state of mind to being placed in an awareness of God’s presence without any loss of consciousness. He is telling them here that as a good Jew, he went to the temple and it was there that God spoke to him. It shows he was not an enemy of the temple but one who went to temple.
Acts 22:18 (KJB)
And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
This is new information concerning the vision Paul had which was not included in chapter 9. Here Jesus tells Paul that he was to leave Jerusalem because his testimony of Jesus would not be welcomed or accepted by the people there. The timing was not right plus Paul needed time to study and learn so when he was ready to go out, he would be well prepared. Notice Jesus did not tell him to wait a day or two but to leave quickly. This was because the people would not believe that Saul went from a persecutor of Christians to becoming one of them and this would cause them to stone him. So he had to leave Jerusalem until the time was right to return. “Make haste” and “get thee” are both in the Imperative mood in the Greek making them commands. So Paul leaving Jerusalem quickly was not a suggestion.
Acts 22:19 (KJB)
And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
Paul then began to argue that these Hellenistic Jews had well known how he beat and imprisoned the Christians. They knew he went from synagogue to synagogue persecuting those who called on the name of Jesus. The synagogue was normally the center of Jewish life wherever there was one.
Acts 22:20 (KJB)
And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
Paul now tells the crowd that he spoke with Jesus concerning the fact that he was guilty of the blood of Stephen. The verse states that Stephen was the “Lord’s martyr.” Saul had stood by and allowed it to happen, in fact, he kept the raiment of those who had slain Stephen while the murder was going on. Saul was approving of this murder. By telling his audience these things, he was showing two things, first, that Jesus was alive and well and knew perfectly what was happening on earth, and secondly, that Jesus was being very patient with Saul at the time, yet He was in total control of the entire situation.