Acts 26 — Paul’s Defense Before Agrippa
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One Reply to “Sep 7 — Acts 26”
Paul is a very astute orator, well versed in proper formal speaking etiquette. In his discourse to King Agrippa (and all those present), he honors the king by using his name four times. Each time to make a point:
– “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today” (Acts 26:2)
– “King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me” (26:7)
– “About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road” (26:13)
– “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven” (26:19)
I imagine that Paul was repeating his name to keep him listening to the whole story, trying to keep him focused. First the intro, the basis for the Jewish persecution, then Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus and finally his assertion that he simply must be obedient to the presence of Jesus and his mandate that the Gospel is to be preached “to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles” (26:20).
Festus interrupts: “You are out of your mind, Paul! he shouted. Your great learning is driving you insane” (26:24). Paul refutes this accusation and again appeals to Agrippa, “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets?” (26:27). Here is a pivotal statement from Agrippa, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian? 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” (26:28-29).
There you have it, the Gospel was officially recorded in the present of Roman officials. Was it accepted? Nope. Was it preached? Yes! The response, “the king rose and with him the govern and Bernice and those sitting with them” (26:30) and they left the room concluding, “this man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar” (26:32).
They were way too high and mighty, full of power, prestige and position to respond to the Gospel message. Lord help me be willing and able to present your Gospel to all people, regardless of position, and may they hear and accept your gracious gift, “short time or long.” Amen!