“Evil can be the cause of all kinds of suffering. But all suffering does not have to be evil.”
Ann Voskamp from The Broken Way
Yesterday we looked on as Paul walked the streets of Athens, deeply troubled and angered by what he saw. Idols everywhere. We were prompted to examine our own idols.
Today we pick up where Paul is once again being held prisoner. The Jewish delegation determined to see Paul put to death. Their accusations were unfounded and untrue. Still, Paul was held. Held for two years in Jerusalem, and their anger had not dimmed. Rather, it had grown more fierce with each passing day.
A new governor, Festus, has taken over. Festus is in a hurry to resolve this matter of Paul.
Festus wants Paul’s trial held in Jerusalem. Paul, however refuses and demands to make his plea before Caesar in Rome.
He knew he was no longer safe in Jerusalem. Knew of the plot to kill him.
Paul knew his destination was Rome and the fastest way to get there was to appeal to Caesar.
King Agrippa, along with his sister, make an appearance in town. Paul is given the opportunity to speak before the King and Festus.
Paul makes it clear he is willing to die if he could be proved guilty of a capital crime, but first they must find him guilty.
Paul doesn’t give just any defense. When he is finished, all who hear would know how to be saved!
This is the longest of Paul’s speeches in Acts.
He tells of his encounter on the road to Damascus, the blinding light, the voice of Jesus. The vision of Heaven.
Lest you thought the Bible was some dusty outdated book, this is better, more exciting than an episode of Law and Order! This is real!
I have to believe Festus’ heart was beating fast as he listened. His reaction was vehement, shouting to Paul, “you are insane!” Accused him of being crazy.
Do you recognize his reaction? I do. Often when we are convicted, realize we are wrong, we jump up taking the offense, accusing the one speaking truth.
But Paul replied, “I am not insane, Most Excellent Festus. What I am saying is the sober truth. And King Agrippa knows about these things. I speak boldly, for I am sure these events are all familiar to him, for they were not done in a corner! King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do. ~Acts 26: 25-27 ~NLT
Agrippa is on to Paul, interrupting with these words, “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?” ~Acts 26:28 NLT
I can hear chairs scrapping the floor as they are shoved back, hear the gasps in the courtroom.
Paul’s answer brings me to my knees, not worried about himself, but his captor’s salvation.
Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.” ~Acts 26:29
Agrippa nor Festus understood Paul had been the judge and they had been the prisoners on trial. They had been shown the Light and the Way to freedom. But, they had deliberately turned their hearts and eyes away and returned to their sins.
The trial was over, but theirs, was still to come, and come it would!
You will not want to miss one step of this Journey to Action. Join me tomorrow for day thirty, The Miracle Is The Answer, as we close in on the end of our Journey to Action.
Coming next week: A Give Away! Ann Voskamp’s new book, The Broken Way. If you read 1000 Gifts, you are in for a treat! If not, you will be quickly beckoned in wanting more!
Gifts of Grace