Pauls Footsteps #389

Footsteps #389. Paul, in Acts 24-26, gives 3 different defences (Grk apologias) in 3 different situations. Before Felix (Acts 24:10-21) Paul defended the accusation that he was a trouble maker. He asserted that he was not causing trouble in the temple, but was in fact completing a religious rite of cleansing. Paul, in his defence, makes sure to demonstrate that he is not a civil trouble maker, but rather shows that the accusations from the Jews are over religious matters and not state concerns. Would Christians today be able to validate such a defence? To placate the Jews, Felix kept Paul in prison for a further 2 years, bringing him out several times hoping for a bribe. After Felix was removed from office and is replaced by the proconsul Festus (Acts 25:8-12), Paul once again states his innocence before Festus but is forced to appeal to the higher Roman court. 

Read Acts 26. Festus knows that Paul is innocent, which compliments the matter of crafting the letter that he must send to Rome along with Paul. He sought advice from Agrippa, before whom Paul now appears (and Agrippa’s sister Bernice). Paul could have pointed out Agrippa’s sins, but rather he is thrilled to be able to share the gospel, knowing that Agrippa is a believer in the Old Testament prophets. Acts 26 is Paul’s longest defence in Caesarea. He once again shares his testimony as he did in Jerusalem. Before Agrippa, he connects Christianity to its Jewish roots and the hope of the resurrection, demonstrated in Jesus. He wraps up his defence for a call for Agrippa to accept Jesus as the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy and the completed hope of Israel. 

When tried before this man, Paul was forced, from Jewish accusations, to exercise his privilege as a Roman citizen of appealing to Caesar. Before his trip to Rome, Paul had an opportunity to present the truth to King Agrippa II, the last of the Herods. This is the man that told Paul, “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?” My mental database has the words from the KJV “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28).  What a frightening testimony to take into the judgment – almost!

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