Speaking Up for Your Faith

KEY VERSE: “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.” —Acts 26:22

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Acts 26:1-8, 22, 23, 27-29

BEFORE A CONVENIENT opportunity came to send Paul to Rome, King Agrippa and his sister, Bernice, “came unto Caesarea [where Paul was held prisoner] to salute Festus,” the Roman governor. (Acts 25:13) Festus took this opportunity to tell Agrippa about his prisoner, and Agrippa asked to see and hear Paul. Paul must have realized that nothing he could say to Agrippa would change the status of his case. So here we find the great apostle happy simply because he was to have an opportunity to witness for the truth. He knew that Agrippa was well acquainted with the viewpoints and customs of the Jews.

First Paul recounted his preconversion life, saying, “After the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. And now,” Paul continued, “I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 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.”—Acts 26:5-7

Paul left no question in Agrippa’s mind regarding what ‘hope’ it was to which he referred—the hope of the resurrection of the dead. “Why,” he asked Agrippa, “should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (vs. 8) The doctrine of the resurrection is, of course, thought to be ‘a thing incredible’ by practically the whole world, even to this day. Of all the religions of the earth, the Christian religion is the only one that teaches the resurrection. And even here, the falsehood of inherent immortality has voided the true understanding of the resurrection. Certainly the teaching of the resurrection should not be thought ‘a thing incredible’—not when we take into consideration that it is the great Creator of all life who has promised to raise the dead.

Paul related to Agrippa his never-to-be-forgotten experience which took place on the Damascus road, when he saw that blinding light and heard a voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” and learned that the one speaking to him was Jesus of Nazareth! Then Jesus said to him: “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.” (vss. 14-18) Paul then added, “Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.”—vs 19

Agrippa held no hatred in his heart for Paul, and could see no reason why he should be put to death simply because he had espoused the cause of Christ and because his conscience would not permit him to be disobedient to the heavenly vision. Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.”—Acts 26:32

Many disadvantages and hardships were certainly involved in being held prisoner. Without doubt Paul took this into consideration before appealing to Caesar. He knew that the way to Rome as a prisoner would be a difficult one. But Paul knew that the Lord wanted him to go to Rome, and to Rome he would go. His consecration to the Lord was so complete that he was willing to go not only where the Lord wanted him to go, but also in the way the divine will was indicated to him. Just as he was willing to die at Jerusalem, so now he was also willing to continue on to Rome as a prisoner.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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