Paul before Agrippa, by Nikolai Bodarevsky
How will we find this Scripture Living and Active Today?
26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
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.”
I am Thankful for...
Agrippa was the last of the Herods. And campaigned with Rome when Rome struck Judah. In 66 AD, before Titus destroyed Jerusalem, at the time Jesus would have died of old age, Agrippa was comfortably in Rome with his good friend the Historian Josephus. Josephus and Agrippa discussed and wrote a lot of history together and Josephus kept two of Agrippa's letters, available to be seen today.
Agrippa, like all the Herods, was well educated in Rome. He was housed in comfort to die childless at age 70 - as Roman Praetor - a title granted to men acting in one of two official capacities. This Agrippa was not in power when Jesus was alive.
Now remember with me, Agrippa and Josephus thought there was something to - JESUS. They both thought that if Jesus remained a power after His Death - one should pay attention.
Paul spun his wheels giving his witness to Agrippa? Hmmmm.
How was Paul able to testify so well in this trouble?
My Thanksgiving was wonderful thank you!
Not many are so fortunate. Many people expected family to gather and life to have some Joy. And found disagreements, hostility and a return of old arguments.
So... with extrapolation, there was a presentation with drama at Thanksgiving. It's a funny thing about people, they are not going to raise their hand and say "Wow, you put a question mark in my mind to discuss deeper issues with some thought for some time."
And what Paul did - was plant a powerful seed carried to Josephus and regardless if you feel kind about Josephus saying what is what in history about Christians - there is no doubt Josephus spoke three times and one was the idea that Jesus supporters keep going. The other one was clearly that the death of James, was the death of Jesus' brother and a saint. Jesus was honored by these men and their voice resonates today.
This was not fruitless Christian Witness. Thank you, Paul.
How did Paul do so well with prison and death and Caesar and his testimony.
And of course, we can say the Holy Spirit aided him. Yes. I agree. Thank Jesus.
And this, Jesus did not lead Paul to this moment like an impossible leap off the cliff job. Paul wrote us about his comforts - so that today - we could take comfort in our lives that Jesus cares very deeply about. Telling us if we have seen Jesus in action, and believe Scripture - we know our Father God and the comfort and interest HE has in our lives.
Paul was not building a Cathedral. Paul was building a relationship with Father God - the light that lights all of mankind. Paul was putting relationship ideas there.
And Paul told us again and again and again and again and again - Paul genuinely cared for and loved the people he told about Jesus.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind
I adore the movie "Zombieland." And the set of rules he keeps towards staying alive. This rule could be very important like keeping limber. Thanksgiving Rule Number Three - rejoice with rejoicers. Weep with those who weep. Thanksgiving Rule Number Four - when they call you names and yell at you - don't yell back - there is no ANGER AND RAGE WITH THE RAGERS!!!
How did Paul get to the point where he loved the people he told Jesus about?
Good question. The Bible is very real. People really did a number on Paul. He was beaten and destroyed and chased by the good people.
Life had revealed to Paul - situations change fast.
Paul realized this very important Rule in Life. You could call this Rule Number Two, if you like:
1 Timothy 6:
6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
Paul has been seasoned to do the Life Paul clearly understood.
Paul has had many, many trials and has overcome. He is a little proud as he tells us
2 Corinthians 11
24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren
Now, you might be like me and say "Oh, no. God Forbid." Ok, right I don't want these things either. Give me the life of Billy Graham, and I rejoice. Hezekiah!!! But I have noticed in 5 decades of life - God is teaching me to do my life. He is building abilities, aptitude, endurance, overcoming, and glee at overcoming.
3 Not only so, but wec also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
So if you had a difficult Thanksgiving... Paul had worse.
If not, call the police.
If you survived?!!
He that fights and runs away, May turn and fight another day; But he that is in battle slain, Will never rise to fight again. ~Tacitus
You just did like the Amazing Paul. You have learned to survive and to sharpen up in love and wisdom.
1. Survival - actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment!
2. Perseverance - let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
3. Love - the greatest of all things in letting you know you LIVE and Live Abundantly - is to Love.
Love those around you. God sees all hearts and says Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow HE has decided to save us through His only Son. God will pour love into open hearts.
4. Character - having dodged bullets and found ways to zig zag! We can relate to life and pass our opportunities, wisdoms and rejoicings along to others.
There actually is great contentment with godliness. When we believe the Father, Author of Life, Creator of All things Loves you - your heart is going to be warm. When our soul is the only surviving part of us - we had better make that a good place to dwell. In contentment - we will find our first Spiritual fruit - Love and Joy.
Bloom where you are planted, find Thanks. And Giving.
Father God, You have said
All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.
The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him.
We believe Your blessing Father God, for ourselves, the ones we Love, the People You have given us. We believe Your Blessing for Our Jesus and Scripture believing Churches. We believe this for Your people around the world. We will believe this for Our Nation. And in Jesus - this Hope, Faith and Love - we will rise up believing Jesus. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †