Verse 1 – Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself:
Verse 2 – “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews,
Verse 3 – “especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.
Paul flattered the king by telling him it was a privilege to stand before such an expert in Jewish customs. It’s always better to start with what you agree with on with the other person, before witnessing to them. People seem to perk up when kind words are spoken first.
Verse 4 – “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know.
Paul was born in Tarsus; but was sent to Jerusalem at an early age, for his education.
Verse 5 – “They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
Verse 6 – “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers.
Paul is referring to what was written concerning the coming Messiah and the resurrection of the dead.
Verse 7 – “To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hopes’ sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews.
Verse 8 – “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?
Paul was not only addressing King Agrippa, but Festus and those who stood in that great hall. This question could also be asked of us: Why should we regard it absurd that God, who has all power, who is the creator of all, is the author of humans, should again restore man to life for an eternal existence?
Verse 9 – Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Paul thought it had been his duty to oppose the claims of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.
Verse 10 – “This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority form the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.
These chief priests read the Scripture in the synagogues, time after time. How could they not know the coming of the Messiah – Jesus. It was as plain as day, even down to whom would come preach before Him – John the Baptist.
Now for today: How often do you hear a message on the Second Coming of Christ, which is clear as day all throughout the Bible? Even with all the historical evidence, some choose not to believe.
Verse 11 – “And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
Verse 12 – “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from chief priests,
Verse 13 – “at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shinning around me and those who journeyed with me.
Verse 14 – “And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
Verse 15 – “So I said, “Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Verse 16 – ‘But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.
Verse 17 – ‘I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,
Verse 18 – ‘to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
This reminded Paul’s audience that the Gentiles have an equal share in God’s inheritance. This inheritance is the promise and blessing of the covenant God made with Abraham.
Verse 19 – “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
Verse 20 – “but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.
Verse 21 – “For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.
Verse 22 – “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come –
Verse 23 – “that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
Jesus rose to return to death no more! And He thus secured an ascendancy over death and the grave, and by the way of eminence, first among those raised from the dead.
Verse 24 – Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”
Isn’t that what those which don’t believe say about those of us who do?
Verse 25 – But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.
Verse 26 – “For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.
Verse 27 – “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”
King Agrippa was also a Jew and believed in the prophets. Paul loss no opportunity on pressing the truth on every class of people.
Verse 28 – Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuaded me to become a Christian.”
So many come so close, but don’t follow through. How sad. This king could have had a huge influence on those around him.
Verse 29 – And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and together such as I am, except for these chains.”
We as Christians, should have such a strong desire to see others come to Christ, that it overrides our own circumstances and desires!
Verse 30 – When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them;
Verse 31 – and when they had gone aside, they talked among themselves, saying, “This man is doing nothing worthy of death or chains.”
Verse 32 – Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
But Paul had to appeal to Caesar or they would have just continued to hold him without ever convicting him. And one other thing; God wanted Paul to go to Rome. So now Paul would have to be discharged by Caesar himself!