Be Brave {Acts 26}

11:30 PM


By Mari Sandoval
Today we continue as Paul is on trial and standing before King Agrippa. I did a bit of research and found out that he was standing before the man whose great-grandfather had tried to kill Jesus as a baby; his grandfather had John the Baptist beheaded; and his father had martyred the first apostle, James! (Bibleorg.com) This was a man whose family history made him unlikely to receive Paul the way he did!  Wow, only our God can do this! “Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are [now] permitted to speak on your own behalf.” At that, Paul stretched out his hand [as an orator] and made his defense [as follows]:
“I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, since it is before you that I am to make my defense today regarding all the charges brought against me by the Jews, especially because you are an expert [fully knowledgeable, experienced and unusually conversant] in all the Jewish customs and controversial issues; therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.” (26:1-3)
Paul is happy to speak before Agrippa, because he is pleased to have the evidence of his case examined closely by the highest officials, but mainly because he is pleased to preach the gospel to kings!  This was part of what the Lord promised Paul at his conversion, through Ananias: “Go, for this man is a [deliberately] chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will make clear to him how much he must suffer and endure for My name’s sake.” (9:15-16)

Paul describes to Agrippa his life before his conversion (26:4-11); part of his conversion (Vs.12-20), and what the Lord Jesus had said to him regarding his ministry: I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you [to serve] as a minister and as a witness [to testify, with authority,] not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you, 17 [choosing you for Myself and] rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their [spiritual] eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness and release from their sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified (set apart, made holy) by faith in Me.’ (26:16-18)

Imagine, Paul with those heavy chains that would inflict him such pain, instead of pleading for understanding or sympathy, he was actually sharing his testimony and the gospel so that these influential people could open their hearts and repent to be saved! 



But what was the answer of these men?

- Festus: “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great education is turning you toward madness.” (26:24) When we preach the gospel, for sure some people will think we are crazy. Paul appointed this to the Corinthians: “… the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinth. 1:18)

-Agrippa: “In a short time [and with so little effort] you [almost] persuade me to become a Christian. (26:28) Why was Agrippa only almost persuaded? Probably because he may have realized that becoming a Christian would mean losing his status (the praise of men), his friends and by looking at Paul’s trials, he was unwilling to make such sacrifice!

So, what is to become a Christian? Acts 26:18 describes five things that happened to Paul when he became a Christian. A Christian has their eyes opened. A Christian has turned from darkness to light. A Christian has turned from the power of Satan to God. A Christian has received forgiveness of sins. And a Christian has an inheritance among those set apart to God. (Blueletterbible.org)

Paul showed that even though he was in chains, he had more freedom in Jesus than any of the royal audience had!

"O that men were wise enough to see that suffering for Christ is honour, that loss for truth is gain, that the truest dignity rests in wearing the chain upon the arm rather than endure the chain upon the soul." (Spurgeon)

Finally, Agrippa admits Paul's innocence, yet forwards him to Caesar (26:30-32)

As I’ve reflected on Paul’s conversion and ministry He would not rely on his own strength, nor focus on his circumstances, but the Holy Spirit continually reminded Paul of each and every one of God’s promises for his calling (9:15-16). His life had no other purpose but to live for God and His Purpose (20:21). No wonder Paul seemed to always be courageous in all his trials!  Here are some of these promises we’ve read throughout this week, that I believe kept Paul going with zeal and joy:

- ‘Go, I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ (22:21)
-“Be brave; for as you have solemnly and faithfully witnessed about Me at Jerusalem, so you must also testify at Rome.” (23:11)

How about you my sister? Which promises from our Father have you treasured in your heart, which keep you walking in faith and for His Purpose?

May through His Holy Spirit we may become brave and courageous to testify what Jesus has done in our lives!

Blessings my sisters!!

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