Good morning! Today we will begin our reading in Acts chapter 26. In these verses, the Apostle Paul appears before King Agrippa and begins his defense. This week we will continue to cover the chapter in large sections so the we understand Paul’s full defense as he explains it for the fourth time since he has been imprisoned. Join me as we read Paul’s response.
Bible verse – Acts 26:1-8 NLT
“Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak in your defense.”
So Paul, gesturing with his hand, started his defense: 2 “I am fortunate, King Agrippa, that you are the one hearing my defense today against all these accusations made by the Jewish leaders, 3 for I know you are an expert on all Jewish customs and controversies. Now please listen to me patiently!
4 “As the Jewish leaders are well aware, I was given a thorough Jewish training from my earliest childhood among my own people and in Jerusalem. 5 If they would admit it, they know that I have been a member of the Pharisees, the strictest sect of our religion. 6 Now I am on trial because of my hope in the fulfillment of God’s promise made to our ancestors. 7 In fact, that is why the twelve tribes of Israel zealously worship God night and day, and they share the same hope I have. Yet, Your Majesty, they accuse me for having this hope! 8 Why does it seem incredible to any of you that God can raise the dead?”
- This chapter is broken up into mini-sections
- Paul’s opening remarks to the king – v.2-3
- Paul’s life before he became a Christian – v.4-8
- Paul opposing Christian’s – v.9-11
- Paul’s conversion and call on his life – v.12-18
- Paul’s ministry – v.19-23
Paul had given his account before in Acts 22:1-21; 23:1-8; 24:10-21; and 25:6-11.
What is different this time around is:
- the audience (King Agrippa) had expert knowledge in Jewish customs. Apostle Paul was fully aware of King Agrippa’s knowledge of Jewish customs and religion.; and
- Apostle Paul clarifies for the king his upbringing and knowledge of Jewish custom and religion. Paul stating “I am on trial because of my hope in the fulfillment of God’s promise made to our ancestors.“
Sisters and brothers, Paul never lost sight of his hope. Paul stood firm in the hope of Christ Jesus (in 2 Corinthians 3, Paul explains in detail about this hope). Regardless of the odds against us our hope should always be in the Lord – the fulfillment of God’s promise.
A few scriptures to turn to regarding hope are:
- Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
- Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
- Romans 5:1 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And my favorite when I need to minister to my soul: Psalm 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Sisters and brothers, continue in hope. The Lord is faithful. He will come through for you.
Father God, thank you for your endless love toward us. Thank you for never leaving our side. Lord, thank you for the times of humility, the ability to repent and turn back to you. Lord, where would we be if you had not raised your son from death to life and seated him on the throne? Lord, thank you for making a way for us. Lord, forgive us of any anger and bitterness that we have allowed into our hearts (intentionally or unintentionally). Lord, help us to do what is right in your eyes. Lord, lead us today and continue to expose lies and let us see Your truth. Lord, we know that you are greater than any problem that we face. Lord, strengthen us as believers to read your word for ourselves and apply it to our daily lives. Lord, don’t allow us to get off track but keep our eyes gazed/fixed/focused on you. Lord, continue to be with our nation’s leaders as they make decisions today. Lord, have your way. We will trust you! In Jesus name, amen.
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