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The Scriptorium

Who's on Trial Here?

Paul presses the Gospel on Agrippa.

Acts (21)

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 26.12-32.
In verses 12-23 Paul recounted his experience of coming to Christ and the mission to which the Lord appointed him. It was because he was obeying a vision from the Lord that he was detained by the Jews (vv. 19-21).

For reflection
1.  But, Paul insists, God preserved him, so that he could continue to preach what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass, that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light both to Jews and Gentiles (vv. 22, 23). Why do you suppose is reaching back to the Old Testament Scriptures here?

2.  Festus must have been thinking, “This is not what I was expecting. Agrippa’s gonna think I’m crazy for wasting his time on such religious nonsense.” So he blurted out his comment in verse 24, which outburst Paul seems to have regarded as an interruption in his message to the king (vv. 25, 26). Notice how Paul quickly deals with this objection, then gets right back to his message. How does this instruct us concerning our witness?

3.  Paul went right back to Agrippa, calling on him to think through all that he knew about the prophets, and to consider the “truth and reason” of what he was proclaiming (vv. 25-27). Is the Gospel true and reasonable? Explain.

4.  We begin to see that this isn’t about Paul. It’s about Agrippa. The king is on trial here: Will he bring to full fruition what he’s known so well all these many years? And Agrippa knew it. He deflected Paul’s pressure by suggesting that the Apostle couldn’t really expect him to become a Christian – how’d he know that word, we wonder? – in such a short space of time (v. 28). But yes, in fact, Paul did expect it, at least, he hoped it earnestly. Paul pleaded with the court, not to vindicate him, but to reason through what he had said and embrace the Gospel: “Become like me, a Christian!” (v. 29) When we share the Gospel, and get as far as Paul did – the facts, our testimony, the moral demands, the coming judgment – we can’t just leave people nodding their heads. We must insist on some response. Talk about some ways we can do this.

5.  The king was either uncomfortable or he’d heard enough to know that Paul had done nothing deserving detention, much less judgment. He could have been set free (v. 32), but then those starving plotters were out there. The Lord Jesus knows what He’s doing. There comes a time in our relationships with lost people to press the point of the Gospel. We can’t force people to believe, but if we aren’t urgent about what we believe, how can we expect others to take us seriously? Have you given the unbelievers in your life a clear opportunity to receive the Good News about Jesus?

Paul is on a roll here, and he’s not about to be distracted or derailed until he has pressed the issue of Jesus on King Agrippa with all his might. We can’t force people to believe. We can only share what we know to be true, and what we’ve experienced, as reasonably and earnestly as possible. In what ways would you like to improve in your witness for the Lord?

Closing Prayer
I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.
All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
For great is the glory of the LORD.
Though the LORD is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.
Psalm 138

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.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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