I thank You, Lord, that You are patient, “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
Read Acts 26:19–32
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.”
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.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWould you have the courage to proclaim the Gospel in the middle of standing on trial for your faith?
When it came to speaking, clearly Paul wasn’t impressed by the advice, “If you’re in a hole, stop digging”! Already he’d claimed to have met Jesus on the journey to Damascus (14), which was controversial enough. Now he raises the stakes by saying that he preaches the Gospel to Jew and Gentile alike, in obedience to the vision from heaven (19). The implication is clear: If they stop him from preaching they are opposing God.
His argument made no sense to Festus, who called him insane (24). But since Paul related his argument to Moses and the prophets, that’s not too surprising (22). Agrippa was different, however: he knew where Paul’s argument was coming from (3). Paul’s defense was straightforward: he had preached nothing contrary to the Jewish Scriptures. Tailoring the argument to the person is important.
Again Paul turns the screw, directly challenging Agrippa (26,27). As far as Paul was concerned, the king couldn’t plead ignorance—he knew too much. Agrippa knew exactly what was going on—Paul was trying to convert him. And Paul sealed it with his not very subtle evangelistic appeal (29)!
Are you praying for someone who knows the Gospel but hasn’t done anything about it? Don’t give up—patiently follow Paul’s example (29).
Jesus, I am so glad that You seek to save all humankind. Continue to work in the hearts of my loved-ones who don’t know You.
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