Bible Reading Day 208
Day 208: July 27 (Acts 26)
Luke’s account of the birth of the Church and the working of God through the Apostles is drawing to a close: Paul, the last Apostle to meet Jesus face to face (remember the Damascus Road?) is telling King Agrippa his testimony.
Clearly Agrippa is interested in what Paul has to say, even if he is skeptical. Festus, on the other hand, is mired in rational thinking and even shouts out that Paul is insane at one point of Paul’s defense. Paul knows the difference between the two and speaks boldy to both. With Agrippa he is challenging, with Festus he is clear in disagreement. With both men he is respectful. These approaches are remarkable in a man trained to be forcefully right – and that shows the work of God in Paul’s life.
Agrippa is the great grandson of Herod the Great (who ordered the babies killed in Bethlehem after Jesus was born), grandson of Herod Antipas (who wanted to hear Jesus before the crucifixion – not to believe but to be entertained), and son of Agrippa I (who beheaded the apostle James, and imprisoned Peter in an attempt to murder him too). Agrippa II was the last of the Herodian rulers, loyal to the Romans and ungodly in many of his choices, including his incestuous relationship with Bernice, who was his sister!
Into this mix of politics, religion, and ungodliness, Paul speaks clearly, but without condemnation. He stands for the truth at great personal cost, and does not shrink from challenging the powerful.
In the end, they agree that Paul has no charge to answer, and could have been freed if he had not appealed to Caesar. Of course that would not have fitted God’s plan at all – He wants Paul to testify in Rome.
So Paul show us that following God’s will does not make life easy, but it may well lead us into positions of great influence. Imagine if Agrippa had turned to God and been saved! Festus too.
How about you? Is your life on a smooth path of ease, or has God’s will for you taken you over rough places with opposition and suffering? You are in good company: Jesus and Paul, along with most of the apostles, shared the same pathway.
Have a great day!