Acts 26. Forum Discussion

Always be ready to give an answer for your hope

Paul is permitted to speak on his own behalf by King Agrippa. After complimenting King Agrippa on his knowledge of the Jewish Law and pleading with him to listen patiently, Paul begins to speak.

Paul’s defense takes up most of chapter 26. He mentions his upbringing in Jerusalem, how he lived as a Pharisee, and how he is now standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to their fathers. He talks about the days that he spent persecuting Christians and how he even cast his vote against those that were being put to death for their Christianity. Paul talks about the bright light that he saw on the road to Damascus and how he heard Jesus’ voice ask him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” – and how Jesus instructed him, “Get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;  rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,  to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’”

Paul then asks a powerful question in Acts 26:8, “Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?”

His defense is a smart one. He is pointing out to King Agrippa, and the leaders of the day, that what he is talking about can all be found in the Jewish Law. As Jesus said Himself in Mathew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” It was not a lack of knowledge that made the Jewish leaders resent Paul as they did, it was their own selfish motives.

Paul does an amazing job of speaking respectfully and boldly about the faith that is in him. We too must be prepared to tell our story and give an answer for why we believe. “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” - 1 Peter 3:15-17. 

While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad.”  But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth.  For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.  King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do.”  Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”  And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.” - Acts 26:24-29.

How powerful is God? He helped Paul turn from a persecutor of Christians to one of the central figures in Christianity and one of Jesus’ most successful disciples. God was able to make Agrippa say, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”

God’s power is ready to work in our lives too. We simply need to let Him. Amen

Comments

Virtual Bible Study

Why do you have the hope that you do?

Reply
Michael
Virtual Bible Study

Why do I have the hope that I do?

Because of what I have read (in the Bible), and what I have seen.

God is real. I believe in God and His Son Jesus.

I was baptized into Christ for the remission of my sins.

I believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

And because of this, and by God's grace, I have hope that I am saved and will be in eternity with God and Jesus and my brothers and sisters.

Reply