In our study of Acts chapter twenty two, we are reminded of Paul's spiritual journey as he shares his testimony with those that had him arrested. In chapter 21, Paul was arrested after a riot broke out in Jerusalem. As he was taken into custody, he was granted permission to speak to his accusers.
"'Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.' When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said:" NIV translation
Paul got the crowd's attention when he began to speak their language. He addressed them as "brothers and fathers" further identifying himself with them as he was also a Jew.
It is easier for people to persecute someone that is not the same as themselves but, here, they learn that Paul is one of them and it quiets them down.
"'I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.'" NIV translation
Paul begins his testimony with the fact that he was no ordinary Jew. He was trained by one of the most famous teachers in Jerusalem and so, when he mentioned the name of Gamaliel, it would have gotten their attention. It is interesting to note that Paul does not condemn them for their zealousness in defending the law in fact, once again, he identifies himself as being in their shoes at one time.
"'I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.'" NIV translation
Paul went on to explain that he had not only done what this mob was doing here in Jerusalem but he had also went to Damascus to do the same thing. He says that the Council can verify these facts.