Sunday, October 22nd, 2017 | Chad Gardner
Paul has stood before a mob, the Sanhedrin, Felix, and Festus. Every time, he uses the opportunity to share with each group what Jesus has done. He is on trial for claiming Jesus is alive. Paul has been imprisoned a couple of years now. He is innocent but some of the Jews have continued to stir up trouble for him. Nothing is getting accomplished so Paul appeals to Caesar.
Festus is the new governor and wonders how to send Paul to Caesar with no real charge against him. He asks Herod to sort it out because of his knowledge of Jewish customs.
After some days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid a courtesy call on Festus. Since they stayed there many days, Festus presented Paul’s case to the king, saying,
“There’s a man who was left as a prisoner by Felix. When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews presented their case and asked for a judgment against him. I answered them that it’s not the Romans’ custom to give any man up before the accused confronts the accusers face to face and has an opportunity to give a defense concerning the charges. Therefore, when they had assembled here, I did not delay. The next day I sat at the judge’s bench and ordered the man to be brought in. Concerning him, the accusers stood up and brought no charge of the sort I was expecting. Instead they had some disagreements with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, a dead man Paul claimed to be alive. Since I was at a loss in a dispute over such things, I asked him if he wished to go to Jerusalem and be tried there concerning these matters. But when Paul appealed to be held for trial by the Emperor, I ordered him to be kept in custody until I could send him to Caesar.”
Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.”
“Tomorrow you will hear him,” he replied.
In the New Testament, the church studied God’s word, prayed, and broke bread together. They enjoyed fellowship together. When they witnessed, it was in the context of God sending the church out to do so, not having people come into the church to be witnessed to.
“And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that Your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness”
There are plenty of evangelism methods and you can use the tools you are comfortable with. But it’s not methods that are going to change people’s lives. Only Jesus can do that. Be bold in sharing who He is and what he has done in your life. The early church prayed for boldness and God enabled them to share boldly.
So the next day, Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the auditorium with the commanders and prominent men of the city. When Festus gave the command, Paul was brought in. Then Festus said: “King Agrippa and all men present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish community has appealed to me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he should not live any longer. Now I realized that he had not done anything deserving of death, but when he himself appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him. I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore, I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after this examination is over, I may have something to write. For it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner and not to indicate the charges against him.”
Think about the most exquisite entrance you’ve ever seen. Herod and Bernice made a grand entrance. It was completely over the top. Imagine them parading the fanciest clothes money could buy with the most important people present. Then imagine Paul looking the extreme opposite, wearing the same grungy cloak he had worn for two years straight in jail. He was scarred and beaten. Although Paul was regarded as a fool, he did not let this opportunity to share pass him by.
In Acts 26, Paul thanks King Herod Agrippa for listening and finds common ground in their shared Jewish heritage.
This is a good example for us to follow in talking to others about our faith. Read Acts 26 in preparation for next week’s message.
Pray specifically. Pray to be bold. Pray to change someone’s life through Jesus.