This week’s ongoing Biblical teaching series will be part 2 of Acts chapter 26

Paul the Apostle Continues His Testimony Before King Agrippa

[Acts chapter 26, verses 19-32]

by Minister Paul J. Bern

Last week as we left off at part 1 of Acts chapter 26, the apostle Paul was giving his testimony before King Agrippa, in the presence of many of those who had imprisoned Paul previously. Moreover, the majority of those individuals seated before Paul, Festus and king Agrippa were accessories to the murder of Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead on the morning of the 3rd day, much to their humiliation. As the apostle Luke wrote, Paul had not yet finished his defense, so let’s start where we last ended on verse 19. “19) So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20) First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21) That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22) But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen – 23) that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” 24) At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.‘” (Acts 26, verses 19-24)

Since the first half of Paul’s testimony to Festus and the king was covered last week, this week we find Paul the apostle beginning to turn up the intensity of his rhetoric. He testified vigorously against the Jews from Jerusalem, and especially to those who were denigrating the sacred Name of the Lord. In verses 20-21 Paul said, “20) First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21) That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.” ‘I remind them’, to paraphrase Paul regarding his Jewish accusers and former brethren, ‘of the very thing that they lack, which is Christ’s Salvation’. All they had to do was

Moving on to verse 22, the apostle Paul would not allow himself to be separated from Christ in any way, and compares his faith to that of Moses from centuries before: “But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen….” Paul was testifying on the Lord’s behalf what His intentions were, and that those intentions manifested themselves through Paul. Those who saw or were touched could be saved by embracing the Gospel, and by being healed (in that order). It was not until the following sentence was uttered that the real purpose of Paul’s testimony came forth: “23) ,,,,that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” Immediately, King Agrippa stops the proceedings at verse 24, as he accuses the apostle Paul of insanity. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” I don’t know about you, but if anyone is called ‘insane’ because of their Christian beliefs, that’s a huge compliment to a real believer.

So here we have the apostle Paul being called a madman in full view of everyone, and how does Paul respond? “25) ‘I am not insane, most excellent Festus,’ Paul replied. ‘What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26) The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27) King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.’ 28) Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’ 29) Paul replied, ‘Short time or long – I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.’ 30) The king rose, and with him, the governor and Bernice, and those sitting with them. 31) After they left the room, they began saying to one another, ‘This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.’ 32) Agrippa said to Festus, ‘This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.’”(Acts 26, verses 25-32)

Somehow, in some way, Paul seems to have found an opening in the heart of king Agrippa. Maybe it was something the king had been taught or otherwise had exposure to in his youth, who can say for sure? But his response gives away his true belief when Paul asks this question in verse 27: “The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27) King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.’ 28) Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’” The sarcasm in Agrippa’s tone of voice was likely unmistakable by this time. He was telling Paul to take a look around and notice that he was surrounded by his enemies. So to paraphrase Agrippa, he was asking Paul, ‘if you can’t make converts out of your own people, what makes you think you can convert me?’

Paul’s reply was classic Christendom: “…I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” Although Paul was in chains during these proceedings, he was more free than many of those who had no chains and walked around as free men. Seeing this as being a potential rallying cry for Paul’s supporters, King Agrippa – with Festus’ agreement – immediately adjourns the proceedings so they can discuss the matter privately starting at verse 31. “After they left the room, they began saying to one another, ‘This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.’ “. Nobody knew what to do with Paul, except for the one thing Paul sought, which was to have this case dismissed so he could be set free, even if he had to go all the way to Caesar to do so. And even then, he stipulated, only for the cause of the risen Christ, with nothing held back for himself.

32) Agrippa said to Festus, ‘This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.’” To everyone there, what Paul the apostle was doing didn’t make any sense. He could have been set free, but Paul couldn’t allow that to occur just yet. He was mindful of what the Spirit of the Lord had told him in Acts 23, verse 11: “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.’” This right here is the real motivator for Paul – the opportunity to speak to Caesar himself. That would be the modern-day equivalent of setting up a meeting with president Trump.

Paul had been told by the Spirit of the risen Lord, who had appeared to him after he had been apprehended by the Roman guards at Jerusalem, that he would testify in Rome as to the good news of the Gospel of the risen Christ. Paul had also been told that he would testify before governors and officials, and the Lord had taken the most painstaking care to make sure that everything occurred precisely where and when it is intended. Paul the apostle continued to follow in the Lord’s footsteps, as the other prophets did before him dating all the way back to Abraham. The next stop on his journey of faith will be Rome and an audience with Caesar, but the journey to Rome will take a few unexpected turns. So be sure and return next week at this time for Part One of Acts chapter 27, where Paul sets sail under guard for his audience with the Emperor. Everyone have a splendid week.

Published by

paulbern77

I am Rev. Paul J. Bern, a well-known Web pastor and regular blogger on The Social Gospel Blog here on Wordpress, as well as Medium, Booksie, Patreon and Linked In. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, I began my writing and blogging career in 2010 after becoming temporarily disabled in 2008 due to a stroke, a pacemaker implant plus some other health issues. Prior to that occurrence, I was a long-time computer/IT professional and computer shop owner (21 years altogether). I also own the websites Progressive Christian Ministries of Greater Atlanta, Inc, and https://www.authorrevpauljbern.com, I am the published author of “Cannabis Legalization and the Bible: Compatible or Not?”, “The Apostles in Plain English Vol. 1: the Apostle Paul”, "Sole Survivor", "Occupying America: We Shall Overcome", and "The Middle and Working Class Manifesto 4th Edition". They are available on Amazon Books or from my website at https://www.pcmatl.org/books-and-donations/. I also currently serve as a church keyboardist at Atlanta's Prayer of Faith Church of God in Christ.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s