Digging into Acts 26 we find Paul ready to speak before King Agrippa II and his high-class audience (see Acts 25:23 for a rundown of who all was present). Paul opens his speech by buttering up King Agrippa II. Luke writes in verses 1-3,
Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense: "In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today; especially because you are an expert in all customs and questions among the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
We see the Holy Spirit working here in Paul’s life by the way he respects those in authority. He’s living out what he asked other Christians to do in Romans 13:1,
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.
Paul had every right to be angry and seditious towards those above him, but he wasn’t. This was an honest man being accused of something he didn’t do. What an example for us today in how we should respond when the world rises up against us. Continuing, we hear Paul again tell his testimony. He starts from his childhood and retells his journey to becoming a Pharisee. He gives details regarding his obsession with persecuting Christians (v.9-11). Then, he transitions into his encounter with the Living Christ on the road to Damascus. From this point on Paul was adamant in preaching repentance, turning to God, and proving repentance by what you do; to both Jews and Gentiles.
During Paul’s discourse on Christ Festus interrupts and basically calls him crazy (v.24). Paul defends himself and even adds, “What I am saying is true and reasonable.” Paul says Christianity is reasonable? He then asks Agrippa II his thoughts and if he believes the prophets and what they have to say in regards to Jesus. Agrippa II responds, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul replies, “Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
The tenacity of this man is amazing and inspiring! My prayer is for the Holy Spirit to give me that type of boldness before the world.
- How would you have responded to Agrippa II/Festus?
- Would you have been able to respond in respect and love like Paul?
- What does this teach us about Paul’s conversion?
- What does this teach us about the power of God?