Acts 26:16-20
Acts 26:16 (KJB)
But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
Minister - Servant or attendant
Jesus then commands Paul to rise and stand up. Then Jesus tells him that He appeared unto him for a purpose. If you notice Jesus goes on to tell Paul His purpose. He didn’t chide Paul for persecuting the Christians or even causing the death of some of them. This may be because Paul was already convicted when the light from Heaven shone around him and Jesus told him that he was persecuting Him also when Jesus saves a person, their sins and their iniquities are remembered no more and Saul‘s conversion is an excellent example of this. (Heb 8:12 KJV) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Before Paul had seen the light on the Damascus road, he was on the fast track to becoming a member of the Sanhedrin with all its earthly rewards. Here Jesus tells him that the purpose that he appeared to Paul was to make him a minister or servant, which was a far cry from a position on the ruling body in Jerusalem. Paul was to be a witness of the things which were going on around him at present. (Luke 1:2 KJV) Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; Luke states in the beginning of his gospel that those who were witnesses were delivered unto the Apostles to further the Gospel by means of what was happening already. Paul had already been witness of some of the things which were happening in Christianity but that is not where his witness is going to end. The Lord Jesus Christ is going to appear to him in the future and will give continued instruction and revelation with many details which made him a first hand testimony of the Gospel. (Gal 1:12 KJV) For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Acts 26:17 (KJB)
Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
Paul was also assured by the Lord Jesus Christ that he would be kept safe, even in the great tumults that would occur over the Gospel. The problems Paul encountered in Philippi, Ephesus, Jerusalem, and other places were fulfillments of the promise of Jesus. Paul had escaped out of the clutches of those who wanted him dead. Paul would eventually be put to death but that would be because he had finished the work the Lord gave him. So Jesus kept his promise to Paul that he would be kept safe from both the Jews and the Gentiles. The fact that Paul had stayed over two years in Caesarea shows how Jesus protected Paul from the Jews who had a vow to kill him. When Paul arrived in Caesarea with about 90 Roman cavalrymen protecting him was definitely a fulfillment that Jesus keeps His promises in a big way.
Acts 26:18 (KJB)
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Paul now states the purpose of Jesus sending him to the Gentiles and that was to bring the light of the Gospel to open their eyes which would be steeped in idolatry and false religions. (Isa 60:3 KJV) And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. It was also a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah that the Gentiles would see a great light. (Isa 9:2 KJV) The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. The true Gospel would bring them out of the kingdom of Satan and into the Kingdom of God. (Col 1:13 KJV) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: The message of the Gospel would be preached to the Gentiles whereby they may receive forgiveness for all their sins without keeping the law. (Col 2:13-14 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Then also receive a great inheritance. (Rom 8:17 KJV) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Those who receive the inheritance are those who have become saved and Paul states that the same faith that sanctified him, also sanctified the others who received Christ as personal Savior.
Acts 26:19 (KJB)
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
Paul then addresses King Agrippa stating that he was not disobedient unto that heavenly vision. The word vision here does not indicate a dream or trance type vision but an actual appearance as we have read three times in the book of Acts where Paul speaks about his conversion. The vision also made Paul a first hand witness to the resurrection of Christ. If Jesus was still in a tomb and dead, He could not have appeared to Saul and change him to Paul.
Acts 26:20 (KJB)
But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
Paul did not use this declaration of his obedience for his personal honor but it was for the purpose to further clarify the meaning of the Gospel and to show what it means to be saved in Christ. His obedience was clearly shown in preaching to the Jews in Damascus, Jerusalem, Judea and Asia. He taught the true Gospel of repenting from worshipping idols and idolatry itself and to turn to the true and living God. (1 Th 1:9 KJV) For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; Then once they had become saved, they would show by works that they truly had become saved. Some of the works the converts did was to maintain churches, become elders, give offerings to those less fortunate than they, to grow in the faith, and many other things which were done in various places. These works were in addition to many being persecuted for the true Gospel and Satan would not go after the false Gospel because he wanted to stop the spread of the true Gospel.