Reading For Wednesday Acts 26:1-32
King Agrippa and his sister Bernice arrive at Caesarea as an act of political politeness to the new governor, Festus. Agrippa is an expert on Jewish matters, and Festus seeks his counsel about Paul. The king indicates that he would like to hear Paul for himself. Paul has appealed to take his case to Caesar, which in this case is the young Emperor Nero. Festus is required to write a letter and apprise the emperor, but he is unable to think of any criminal charge to bring against Paul. He hopes that King Agrippa might be able to help, and Agrippa obliges him and invites Paul to speak for himself.
Paul respectfully addresses Agrippa and points out that he is familiar with the Jewish people and their customs. Paul asks for patience and moves directly into his personal testimony. He begins by explaining that he was a Pharisee and had been properly trained in the strictest party of their religion. Paul explains that he has not gone completely away from this and that the scriptures bear out what he believes. He admitted that he was filled with rage and fury and had persecuted any that held fast to the name of Jesus of Nazareth willing to vote for their deaths. Paul recounted his encounter with the living Christ on his way to Damascus and described how Jesus had called him as a servant and witness. He tells Agrippa that he has remained faithful to the vision and the scripture. His Jewish enemies have seized him only because he believes Jesus is the one to whom Moses and the prophets said would come, suffer, and rise from the dead bringing light to both Jews and Gentiles. Festus interrupts Paul and declares that he is mad and that his learning had driven him out of his mind. However, Paul appeals to Agrippa, who knows about these things. Agrippa seems impressed but not persuaded or prepared to become a Christian. This king does not find guilt in him and tells Festus that he should have been set free and would have, had he not appealed to Caesar.
Things To Consider:
- Why should Christians be respectful of others?
- Does respect mean agreement? Why or why not?
- Why is our personal testimony valuable in witnessing?
- Why is the resurrection essential for the gospel?
- Why does Paul not just dismiss the Jews, but instead appeals to the very scripture they share?
- Why does faith sometimes seem like madness to others?
- Why should we be persuasive?
- Who else was a part of a trial in which a Roman official sought to release the prisoner?