Chapter 26: Acts 26: 1-32, preaching gospel to a King
Heavenly Father, You are I AM, Yahweh, Jehovah, Adoni, Elohim, Melchizedek, and Messiah. Thank You for bringing us almost to the end of our journey in Acts. We pray for strength energy, and perseverance to complete this journey, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-3, Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: 2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: 3 Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
Herod Agrippa was very friendly to Paul. He allowed Paul the freedom to say whatever he wanted to say. Paul was happy with this arrangement. Paul took this golden, God sent opportunity to share his testimony to King Herod Agrippa the 2nd. In Acts 9:15, the Lord said that he would share the gospel to King, Acts 9:15.
VV 4-8, 4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; 5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. 8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
Paul said that he was a Jew and a Pharisee. He believed in the promise of the Patriarchs and served God fervently day and night. The Jews falsely accused him of blasphemy against Judaism because he testified about the resurrection of Christ.
VV 9-11, 9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. 11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
Paul narrated his past life before he met Christ. He was once a persecutor of the Christians. He persecuted, harassed, beaten, arrested, imprisoned, and consented to the death of Christians with the blessings of the high priest in Jerusalem. He even went on a rampage to harass, beat, punish, and arrest Christians in foreign cities.
VV 12-14, 12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Paul narrated how he met Christ on the Damascus Road. He was going to Damascus to arrest Christians. At noon, a bright dazzling light enveloped him and he fell. A voice from heaven spoke to Paul in Hebrews asking him to stop persecuting Him.
VV 15-18, 15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Paul asked the voice who He was and He said He was Jesus, whom he was persecuting. The Lord told Paul to get up because He had chosen him to be a witness to the Jews and the Gentiles, to turn them from Satan to God, from darkness to light, to forgive their sins of everyone who believe in Him.
VV 19-23, 19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. 21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
Paul narrated what happened to him after he met Christ. He preached Christ to the Jews in Damascus, Jerusalem, Judea, to the Gentiles in other countries telling them to repent and turn to Christ. The Jews arrested him because of his faith in Christ. With God’s help and protection, he continued to preach Christ to everyone, small and great. Christ suffered and died under the hands of the Jews but God raised Him from the dead to be a light to the Jews and the Gentiles. The gospel is all about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
VV 24-27, 24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. 25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. 26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
At this stage, Festus interrupted Paul’s testimony alleging that Paul was out of his mind for making such claims. Paul said that he was speaking the truth and King Agrippa understood. There and then, Paul gave an altar call to King Agrippa to receive Christ.
VV 28-32, 28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. 29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. 30 And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: 31 And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. 32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.
Herod Agrippa heard the gospel but hardened his heart, and did not respond to Paul’s altar call. Herod Agrippa almost became a Christian but a miss is as good as a mile. He missed an opportunity that might not come to him again. Agrippa issued his verdict that Paul was not guilty. He could have released Paul if he had not appealed to Caesar. Paul had to go to Rome to fulfil his God-ordained destiny.
Paul took the opportunity to share his testimony to Herod Agrippa. His testimony was in three parts, before he met Christ, how he met Christ, and after he met Christ. You should compose your testimony in three parts, before, how, and after. Learn to say your testimony in a few ways and share it out whenever an opportunity arise.
Agrippa hardened his heart. Today, if you hear the gospel, do not harden your heart, Hebrews 3:15.
Hebrews 3:15, “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation”.
Heavenly Father, we pray for boldness to share our testimonies to non-believers without fear. We pray for wisdom to prepare our testimonies and the ability to share them out in several formats. We pray for opportunities to share our testimonies to glorify Your name, in Jesus’ name, Amen.