And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
The video for lesson 21 is the same as for lesson 17. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 17).
Read and meditate on Acts 26.1-11.
Judaism was a legal religion throughout the Roman Empire. Paul wisely set the accusations against him within that framework. Agrippa understood these matters and was not unfamiliar with Jewish religious writings and wranglings (v. 2, cf. v. 27). Paul wanted to assure the magistrate that he had not acted outside the parameters of the very law to which he had appealed on several occasions.
1. Paul raised a pertinent question concerning the resurrection (v. 8). God is certainly capable of such a feat, as we see in the Old Testament prophets (with which Agrippa was familiar). But people today don’t have the same respect for the Bible, or the same easy feeling about miracles as folks did in Paul’s day. Is this a problem for our witness? Explain.
2. Paul admitted that he himself had opposed the Christian movement initially (vv. 9-11). But that was then. The point of Paul’s detention had nothing to do with the temple or Jewish Law. It was about Jesus and the resurrection, so Paul got right to the point with Agrippa. He knows he’s on his way to Rome, so there’s nothing to lose at this point, and Paul began his defense with his testimony and the Gospel. In sharing the Good News, it’s important to know something about the people with whom we’re talking. How can we do this, and why does it matter?
3. Paul knew Agrippa was aware of the faith – one of the controversies of the Jews over whom he ruled – and he almost seems more interested, in this phase of his defense, to clarify the facts of the Gospel for the King, since he never actually gets to the facts of the charges against him. Who’s on trial here?
4. Paul’s defense has changed because the audience and circumstances have changed. It made no difference whatsoever whether Festus and Agrippa were able to weigh the charges against Paul in the balance with his declaration of the facts of the case. This part of Paul’s trial was merely a formality. Paul was not seeking a judgment for his case in front of the king; he was on his way to Rome, and he knew it. Paul was not here seeking his own vindication; he was seeking the king’s soul! Why is his testimony important at this point?
5. Given the opportunity to give a reason for the hope within you (1 Pet. 3:15), how would you explain your testimony?
Events have changed, and Paul is no longer on the defensive. Now he is eagerly and clearly making his faith known to the king and governor. How can we tell how far to go with someone in a witnessing situation – when to break off the conversation, or to press on with our testimony and the Gospel?
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.
And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.