Archive for September 19th, 2017

Acts 26

Acts 26 has Paul now making his case to Agrippa.  “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews”.  Paul again makes it clear that he hasn’t been living under a rock, but very publicly for many years.  “They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee”.  Paul takes Agrippa back to his life as a Pharisee, reminding him that he was part of the very strictest of groups. “And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day”.

“And for this hope I am accused by Jews”.   Paul makes it clear that he is being persecuted because he has been looking forward to the Savior that is described in scripture, which is exactly what a God fearing Jew should be looking for.  But it wasn’t always that way. “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth”. Paul reminds us that he took action on Christ Followers:

  • “locked up many
  • put to death
  • punished them often
  • persecuted them even to foreign cities”

Paul definitely wasn’t a follower of Christ his entire life.  But then he met Christ personally, and his life was changed forever, so Paul goes on speaking and shares the testimony of his life.  Then he makes clear what God wants him to do.  “I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness….to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me”.  Jesus calls Paul to share the gospel with all that he would see.

Then he makes clear what was happening in his current circumstance.  “For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me”.  Festus accuses Paul of being mad, but Paul says that is not true.  “I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner”.  Paul has lived his life openly and many have seen the change he has made from a man consumed with killing Christians to becoming a man whose life was changed by Jesus, leading him to now bear testimony to the shed blood of Christ.  King Agrippa, after hearing Paul’s story, says ”This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment”.  But since Paul had appealed to Caesar, he couldn’t be released.

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