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Acts 26

Thursday Evening Bible Study

May 1, 2013


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does is address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, afraid to die? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 4400 words

National Day of Prayer

Try the YouVersion “Live” / Online notes

On the day of Pentecost, the church was born. It began with the Holy Spirit filling the believers. As the apostles preached about Jesus, the church began to grow.

By chapter seven, the church was beginning to experience persecution. Stephen was the first one to die for his faith. One of the main men behind the persecution was a man named Saul. But when Saul headed for the city of Damascus to pursue the Christians there, he was knocked off his horse by a bright light and he met Jesus. Saul is more well known by his Roman name, Paul.

By chapter 10, the gospel began to reach even the Gentiles, starting with a Roman Centurion named Cornelius.

In chapter 13, we began a new section of Acts as we began to focus on the ministry of Paul.

We followed Paul on three different journeys as he planted churches in cities like Ephesus, Philippi, and Corinth.

On his third journey, while Paul was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, a riot breaks out in the Temple, and the Jews try to seize Paul and put him to death.

Some of the unbelieving Jews thought that Paul had brought a Gentile into the Temple because they had seen him walking around town with a Gentile.

He had not.

The Romans stepped in to take Paul away from the crowd, but Paul was allowed first to speak to the crowd.

Paul gave his first defense to the crowd, but they only went wild when he mentioned that Jesus had sent him to preach to the Gentiles.
Paul’s next defense was before the Sanhedrin.
When the Romans find out that there is a Jewish conspiracy to have Paul killed, they send him to Caesarea at night to be held for trial before the Roman governor.
Paul’s third defense was before Felix the governor in Caesarea.
Two years later Paul would give his fourth defense before a new governor, Porcius Festus.
When Festus suggested they might move the trial to Jerusalem, Paul made his official appeal to Caesar, requiring Festus to send him to Rome for trial instead of Jerusalem.
A few days later, Festus is visited by King Agrippa and his sister Bernice. Agrippa indicates he’d like to hear Paul, and Festus agrees to one last hearing with Paul. Festus is hoping that Agrippa might be able to help him when it comes to writing up the charges against Paul in the paperwork he’d be sending to Caesar.

26:1-11 Life Before Christ

:1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself:

:1 stretched out his hand and answered

Instead of a small courtroom, it is thought that Paul was standing on the stage in the “theater” in Caesarea with Agrippa, Bernice, and Festus sitting in the center of the seating at the “bema” seat.

Video: Caesarea Theater Bema

Paul lifts up his hand as a dramatic oratorical gesture.

There is probably some clinking and clanking heard since Paul is in chains.


Your Testimony

We’re going to see that Paul’s “defense” is his testimony.
He’s going to talk about his life “before” meeting Jesus.
He’s going to talk about how he “met” Jesus.
He’s going to talk about his life “after” meeting Jesus.
Your “testimony” is the same.  Share what you were like before meeting Jesus.  Share how you came to Christ.  Share how your life changed after meeting Jesus.

:2 “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews,

:2 I shall answer for myself before you

Last week we mentioned that Jesus had prepared His disciples, warning them about some of the difficult times ahead.

(Matthew 10:16–20 NKJV) —16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
Paul is before both a governor AND a king.
Paul’s “defense” will be a testimony, a “witness” to them.
19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
The Holy Spirit isn’t going to give Paul some new thing to say. Paul’s testimony before Agrippa will be very consistent with what he’s already said before several times.

:3 especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.

:3 expert in all customs and questions

Festus was a pagan Roman. He was new on the job in Palestine and didn’t have a clue at all about Judaism.

Agrippa on the other hand was considered a “king of the Jews”.

Even though he was an Edomite by lineage, his role as king (under Roman authority) was very entwined with Judaism.
One of his duties was to be the one who appointed the high priest.
Shortly before Festus had arrived to assume the role of governor, Agrippa had appointed a man named Ishmael as the high priest.  This was the man bringing charges against Paul earlier before Festus.
Ishmael didn’t have a good reputation. Josephus records that Ishmael had goon squads who would forcefully take people’s tithes from them, and there was no authority willing to stand up to Ishmael.
8. (179) About this time king Agrippa gave the high priesthood to Ismael, who was the son of Fabi. (180) And now arose a sedition between the high priests and the principal men of the multitude of Jerusalem; each of whom got them a company of the boldest sort of men, and of those that loved innovations, about them, and became leaders to them; and when they struggled together, they did it by casting reproachful words against one another, and by throwing stones also. And there was nobody to reprove them; but these disorders were done after a licentious manner in the city, as if it had no government over it. (181) And such was the impudence and boldness that had seized on the high priests, that they had the hardness to send their servants into the threshing floors, to take away those tithes that were due to the priests, insomuch that it so fell out that the poorer sort of the priests died for want. To this degree did the violence of the seditious prevail over all right and justice.[1]

:3 patientlymakrothumos – with longanimity, i.e. patiently

:4 “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know.

:4 My manner of life

Even though Paul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia, he was raised in Jerusalem and taught by one of the greatest Jewish theologians of all time, Gamaliel.

(Acts 22:3 NKJV) —3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.

:5 They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

:5 I lived a Pharisee

Paul was not an outsider when it came to things going on in the city of Jerusalem.

His early life was known by those who lived in Jerusalem.

As a Pharisee, Paul held to a strict, orthodox view of Scripture.

While the Sadducees only believed the first five books of Moses to be inspired, the Pharisees believed the entire Old Testament to be inspired by God.
The Pharisees believed in miracles and angels, while the Sadducees did not.
Sadducees didn’t believe in a life after death, but the Pharisees believed in the resurrection.

:5 strictestakribestatos – exact, careful; of the strictest sect: the most precise and rigorous in interpreting the Mosaic law, and in observing even the more minute precepts of the law and tradition

Jesus said of the Pharisees,

(Matthew 23:23–24 NKJV) —23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
The Pharisees would be so concerned that they paid their “tithe” correctly that they would go through their little herb gardens hanging outside the kitchen window and count how many mint leaves there were and give God one tenth of them.
The Law of Moses said that the people were not to eat blood with their meat (Deut. 12:23), and this would lead to special methods of slaughtering animals in order to drain the blood out of the animal before cooking it for dinner.

(Deuteronomy 12:23 NKJV) —23 Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat.

The Pharisees took this so literally that if they accidentally yawned and a gnat buzzed into their mouth and they swallowed it, they would try to vomit up the gnat to be sure they didn’t eat the “blood” with the “meat”.

Paul was this kind of a religious person – strict to the extreme.

:6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers.

:6 the hope of the promise

The Pharisees believed in a future.

There was a coming future Messiah.

God spoke to the serpent in the garden:
(Genesis 3:15 NKJV) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
God spoke to Abraham:
(Genesis 22:18 NKJV) In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
God spoke to David about a future king from his descendants:
(2 Samuel 7:13 NKJV) He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

There would also be a future resurrection for everyone:

(Daniel 12:2 NKJV) And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.

:7 To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews.

:7 hope to attain

This is the goal of those Jews who believe in a resurrection. They want to be raised to everlasting life.

So why should Paul be jailed because he too believed in the resurrection, and more specifically that Jesus rose from the dead?

:8 Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?

:8 thought incredible

If there is a God, and He is our Creator, what’s the big deal about God raising the dead?

:9 “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

:10 This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.

:10 many of the saints I shut up in prison

saintshagios – “holy ones”, based on a word connected with God’s “holiness”.

It means “set apart ones”. People who have been set apart for God’s use.
Those in the Catholic or Orthodox tradition might use this word to describe extra special Christians who have been honored by the church.
Last weekend the Roman Catholic Church held a special ceremony “canonizing” the last two popes, making them official “saints”.
But I don’t think Agrippa is thinking of these things. I think he’s simply hearing the word “holy ones” – a word Paul is using to describe Christian believers.
The Bible doesn’t use this word to describe a special class of believers. It is used to describe all believers.
When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, God made you a “saint”. He set you apart for His use.

:10 I cast my vote against

votepsephos – a small worn smooth stone, in ancient courts of justice the accused were condemned by black pebbles and the acquitted by white

Some use this to say that Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin. It may just mean that he was in favor of killing Christians.


God’s Vote

This word (“vote” – psephos) is only found in one other passage:
(Revelation 2:17 NKJV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’

Paul voted “against” the saints, using a black stone.

Jesus votes “for” the saints, using a white stone.

Jesus is “for” you, not against you.

Paul wrote to the Romans:

(Romans 8:31 NKJV) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

I want to show you a video about human love in marriage.  But I want to preface is by saying that Paul tells us that marriage is supposed to be a picture of how Jesus loves us.
Video:  Love Like Crazy
He loves you.  Like crazy.

:11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

:11 compelled them to blaspheme

Blasphemy for the Christian was denying that Jesus was the Christ.

This is a horrible picture of a man gone berserk, a maniac on the loose looking for Christians, forcing them to deny Jesus or die.


Jesus can save the worst.

This was one horrible, crazy guy.
In reality, none of us have ever been “good enough” for God’s grace.
Yet God’s love is great enough, and Jesus’ blood is strong enough, that no sin is too great, no sinner too foul, no person too far away for God to love.
O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing – Charles Wesley
O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace!
My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad the honors of Thy name.
Jesus! The name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease,
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears, ‘Tis life and health and peace.
He breaks the power of cancelled sin, He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me.
If God could save Paul, He can save you.

:11 I persecuted them even to foreign cities

persecuteddioko – to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away; to pursue (in a hostile manner); in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest one; to persecute

Some people just don’t know when to quit.

They will take one offense and pursue it to the ends of the earth.
Paul was such a person.
When someone with this kind of an ax to grind changes, you ought to pay attention.

26:12-18 Paul Meets Jesus

We now see the second part of Paul’s testimony – how he met Jesus.

:12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,

:12 from the chief priests

Paul is being prosecuted by the chief priests, yet he used to work for them.

:13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.

:14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

:14 Saul, Saul

This was Paul’s Hebrew name. Paul was his Roman name.

:14 why are you persecuting Me?

persecutedioko – to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away; to pursue (in a hostile manner); in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest one; to persecute

Jesus uses the same word Paul used to describe how he “persecuted” the believers even to foreign cities (26:11).


What affects Jesus

Jesus told a parable to describe one way in which the final judgment will work.
Jesus described a shepherd King separating the sheep from the goats. When the various parties being judged questioned the King as to what He based his judgment on…

(Matthew 25:40 NKJV) And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Paul wrote to the Corinthians that they as a church were a part of something bigger than they were:
(1 Corinthians 12:27 NKJV) Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
If you are a believer tonight, I want to let you know that when people persecute you for being a believer, they are actually persecuting Jesus.
We ought to be a little more compassionate on them, perhaps feel a little sorry for them for the trouble they are in.
We also ought to be a little more careful as to how we treat other believers.
They too are a part of the body of Christ.

:14 kick against the goads

This was a Greek proverb used to describe useless resistance.

A “goad” was a long wooden rod used to prod an animal to move.

God had been prodding Saul towards Jesus, but Saul had been resisting God.

:15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

I would have imagined that Paul took a big gulp when he heard that.

:16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.

:16 ministerhuperetes – an under-rower; a servant; the attendants of a king

Agrippa would understand this word. He has these kinds of servants. Jesus is a king making Paul his servant.

This is not a description of “grandeur” (like “prime minister”) but a word describing obedience to another’s command.

:16 witnessmartus – a witness; one who is a spectator of anything; the word is primarily a legal word like the person giving testimony at a trial.

We think of “witnessing” as telling people about Jesus, but it is primarily a legal term.

Paul is right now literally a “witness”. He is on trial for what he believes.

:16 you have seen … I will yet reveal …

Paul would not only be telling people about his encounter with Jesus, but Jesus would continue to teach and work through Paul.

:17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,

:18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

:18 to open their eyes

This is what we are hoping to do when we share our faith.

We want to open peoples’ eyes to the truth.

:18 from darkness to light

Without Jesus, we are in darkness.

Jesus said,

(John 3:19–21 NKJV) —19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

:18 the power of Satan to God

powerexousia – the power of authority (influence)

Before Jesus came into our lives, we were under the authority of Satan.

Jesus sets us free from Satan’s power.

Paul would write to Timothy:

(2 Timothy 2:24–26 NKJV) —24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

:18 receive forgiveness of sins

This is at the heart of what the gospel (“good news”) is all about.

From the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, this is what it was all about. John the Baptist saw it from the start:

(John 1:29 NKJV) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and make it possible for us to be forgiven.

:18 an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me

The inheritance we receive from God is eternal life with Him.

The inheritance of God is for those who have been “sanctified”, those who have been made holy, those who have been set apart for God’s use.
To be sanctified, one needs to have faith.
Sanctification is also a process we will go through for the rest of our lives, becoming more and more pure, more and more like Jesus, more and more holy.
But it starts by faith. It starts by believing in Jesus.
Salvation comes by faith.

26:19-23 Paul after Conversion

This is the third part of Paul’s testimony – what he did after meeting Jesus.

:19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

:20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

:20 repent … works befitting repentance

repentmetanoeo – to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent


Inside Out

The message of the apostles from the very beginning was “repent”.
When the crowd at Pentecost asked Peter what they needed to do…

(Acts 2:38 NKJV) Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The root idea of “repent” has to do with what’s going on in your head – to “change your mind”.

It’s to change your mind about your sin – to admit that you’ve been going the wrong way in life and you need to turn around.

It’s to change your mind about God – that you need Him and need to trust Him.

The question is, what does repentance look like?  How can you tell if a person has “changed their mind”?  Is it by raising their hand in church?
Repentance starts on the inside, and if it is real, then it manifests itself by a change on the outside.
Paul’s message was that people needed to demonstrate their “repentance” (change of mind) by doing works that proved they had changed their mind.
Some people have the concept of repentance confused, thinking that “repentance” is the outward change, the “actions”, but it’s not.  It starts on the inside.
It’s exactly what James teaches:

(James 2:14–20 NKJV) —14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Some people have the idea that there is a conflict between James’ theology and Paul’s theology.

There is no contradiction.

Both of them are saying that if you truly believe, then it will be shown by the kind of life you live.

Salvation comes solely by faith, by choosing to believe.

The question is how do we know you really have genuine faith? The proof is in the change of life, the kind of works produced in your life.

:21 For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.

:21 For these reasons

Specifically, the Jews had trouble that Paul would be having anything to do with the Gentiles.

:22 Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—

:23 that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

:22 the prophets and Moses

The message of the gospel was that Jesus died and rose from the dead.

This message was written about by Moses and the prophets. Here are some samples…

Isaiah wrote of the suffering:
(Isaiah 53:5 NKJV) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
David wrote of the resurrection:
(Psalm 16:10 NKJV) For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

:23 the first to rise from the dead

There were a few others who had rose from the dead chronologically before Jesus, but they were not the same type of resurrections.

One of those was Jesus’ friend Lazarus. But Lazarus would eventually die a normal death, again.

Jesus was the first to rise from the dead, never to die again.

:23 light … to the Gentiles

The Old Testament even spoke of the light going to those hated Gentiles.  For example:

(Isaiah 49:6 NKJV) …I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”

26:24-32 Response to Paul

Now that Paul has shared his testimony, there will be some reaction.

:24 Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”

:24 Much learning is driving you mad!

The things Paul is talking about are exactly the kinds of things that Festus has had a difficult time comprehending.

Earlier Paul had written to the Corinthians:

(1 Corinthians 1:23 NKJV) but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,

:25 But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.

:25 most noble Festus

Notice that Paul doesn’t respond by criticizing Festus. He’s gracious.

Keep your head and keep it respectful when you are sharing Christ.

People get pretty worked up when they talk about God and what is right and wrong.
Some people aren’t ready to face the fact that they’ve been wrong and need Jesus.
When they get mad at you, don’t take it personally.

:26 For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.

:26 this thing was not done in a corner

The life of Jesus and preaching of His apostles were public knowledge.

:27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”

:27 do you believe the prophets?


Give the invitation.

Paul simply asked Agrippa, “Do you believe?”
Sometimes we make it a bit too complicated for people to get across the bridge of life into heaven…
Video:  Monty Python Holy Grail – Bridge of Death

It doesn’t have to be too difficult.  Paul shared the gospel and asked if Agrippa believed.

Sometimes we can share our testimony and the Scriptures, but fail to give the opportunity for the person to commit their life to Christ.
We don’t want to offend.
I think it’s appropriate to let that person know that they need to make a choice to follow Jesus.
You can simply ask, “Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to accept Christ right now?”
On the other hand, I think we need to be careful about how we respond if they choose not to accept Christ.
Some folks “love ‘em and leave ‘em” – when a person says “no”, they pack their bags, shake the dust off their feet, and never speak again to the person.
I think we need to consider the long term loving people into the kingdom.

:28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

:28 You almost persuade me to become a Christian

almostoligos – little, small, few; of number: multitude, quantity, or size; of time: short; of degree or intensity: light, slight

persuadepeitho – persuade; be persuaded

ChristianChristianos – Christian, a follower of Christ

The word is only used three times in the NT –
(Acts 11:26 NKJV) —26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
(1 Peter 4:16 NKJV) —16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

The real question is just how did Agrippa say this?

Was he sincerely expressing that he was close to becoming a Christian?
(Acts 26:28 NASB95) Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”
Was he rebuking Paul for thinking that he could make Agrippa a Christian so quickly?
(Acts 26:28 NLT) Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”

(Acts 26:28 The Message) But Agrippa did answer: “Keep this up much longer and you’ll make a Christian out of me!”

We don’t have any record that Agrippa became a Christian.

:29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”

Paul gently reminds them of the injustice of his imprisonment for his message.

:30 When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them;

:31 and when they had gone aside, they talked among themselves, saying, “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains.”

:32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

:32 if he had not appealed to Caesar


Decisions & Mistakes

Sometimes it’s hard to make a decision.
Did Paul make a mistake in appealing to Caesar?
The problem is that sometimes we give ourselves “analysis paralysis”.
We are so afraid of making a wrong decision that we don’t make any decision.
President Ronald Reagan learned the need for decision making early in his life. A kindly aunt had taken him to a cobbler to have a pair of shoes custom-made for him. The shoemaker asked, “Do you want a round toe or a square toe?” Young Ronald hemmed and hawed, so the cobbler said, “Come back in a day or two and tell me what you want.” A few days later the cobbler saw young Reagan on the street and asked what he had decided about the shoes. “I haven’t made up my mind,” Reagan answered. “Very well,” said the cobbler. “Your shoes will be ready tomorrow.” When Reagan got the shoes, one had a round toe and the other a square toe. Says Reagan, “Looking at those shoes every day taught me a lesson. If you don’t make your own decisions, somebody else makes them for you.”
Even if you want to hold the idea that Paul made a mistake appealing to Caesar, our mistakes aren’t worthless…
The department manager is a wise, friendly old man, and one day, during an interview in his office he was asked, “Sir, what is the secret of your success?” He said, “Two words.” “And, sir, what are they?” “Right decisions.” “But how do you make right decisions?” “One word.” He responded. “And, sir, what is that?” “Experience.” “And how do you get experience?” “Two words.” “And, sir, what are they?” “Wrong decisions.”
It’s wise to not rush into decisions, but at some time you probably should get off the dime and choose.
Even if you make a “mistake”, God can use your mistakes.  And you learn a little more wisdom.

[1] Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1987). The works of Josephus: complete and unabridged. Peabody: Hendrickson.