Paul has been sent specifically, as we are all sent generally, to take the gospel in Acts 26:20 “to those in Damascus first, and in Jerusalem and all the region of Judea and to the Gentiles”. And he has faithfully discharged his mission which has brought him now before the king of Israel, Agrippa and the “Roman procurator (governor) of Judea”1, Festus. In fact, Paul says, in Acts 26:22 “I have experienced help from God until this day, and I stand here testifying to both small and great”. Though others see Paul in chains, for Paul, the only confinement on him is obedience to in Acts 26:19 “the heavenly vision”, so Paul boldly asks the question we must each individually answer in Acts 26:27 “Do you believe the prophets, King Agrippa?”. Then, as Paul is taken in bonds to Rome, the Lord confirms to him in Acts 27:24 ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar, and behold, God has graciously granted you all who are sailing with you.’ Know that you can be right in the middle of Gods will even as you go through what to the world looks like the darkest persecution. And if you are, then, let it be said of you as Paul said of himself in Acts 26:20 “I proclaimed that they should repent and turn to God, doing deeds worthy of repentance”.
Listen to Me With Patience
I Saw A Light From Heaven
I Was Not Disobedient To The Heavenly Vision
Paul was a man that was well educated, taught by Gamaliel, one of the most respected of his time but Paul is not talking about what he has learned through leaders of men. Here, Paul introduces another kind of knowledge, a revelation that comes from God. It is this revelation that is directing Paul when he says in
Acts 26:19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision“
and the vision instructed Paul to take the message of the kingdom to the Gentiles in
Acts 26:20 “but to those in Damascus first, and in Jerusalem and all the region of Judea and to the Gentiles, I proclaimed that they should repent and turn to God, doing deeds worthy of repentance.“
Then, Paul makes a statement, as he stands imprisoned, that doesn’t make sense to the natural man. How can he be in prison if God is helping him? Paul says in
Acts 26:22 “Therefore I have experienced help from God until this day, and* I stand here testifying to both small and great“
In God’s economy, preaching the word to king Agrippa, and governor Festus, and the leaders of the city, and the Roman soldiers all around is far more valuable than a few misguided accusations. And Paul knows, he could walk out any time, yet as he did with the jailer in Acts 16:25-40, he chooses to remain as a witness before them.
Do You Believe The Prophets?
The governor, Festus, is new in his position and questions Paul’s sanity but Paul assures Festus, in
Acts 26:25 “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but am speaking words of truth and rationality”.
King Agrippa though, is well acquainted with the law and the prophets so Paul turns to him saying in
Acts 26:26–27 (LEB) For the king knows about these things, to whom also I am speaking freely, for I am not convinced that these things in any way have escaped his notice, because this was not done in a corner. 27 Do you believe the prophets, King Agrippa? I know that you believe.”
Agrippa then responds in
Act 26:28 (KJV) “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian”.
We present-day Christians sometimes forget that when Jesus opened the scriptures to his disciples, it was the Old Testament, it was the law and the prophets that spoke of him. Our New Testament confirms what was written about him. And while there is no greater image than Moses standing with the children of Israel between two mountains saying in
Deuteronomy 11:26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: “
it is still every person’s choice to be persuaded to be a Christian or not.
They Handed Over Paul
All Hope Was Abandoned That We Would Be Saved
You Ought To Have Followed My Advice
Travel by sailing ship in Paul’s day was close quarters for everyone. Yes, there would be the separation between crew and passengers but they are struggling for their lives for “many days” in Acts 27:20 so they shared not only in fear for their lives but in fatigue, so much so, that in
Acts 27:21 “And because many were experiencing lack of appetite, at that time Paul stood up in their midst and said …”
Well, after reminding them that he had warned them about this trip in Acts 27:21 “ “Men, you ought to have followed my advice not to put out to sea from Crete, and thus avoided this damage and loss!”. Paul gives them all a promise the Lord has given him in
Acts 27:22 “And now I urge you to cheer up, for there will be no loss of life from among you, but only of the ship”.
They needed an encouraging word, but Paul was not speaking empty words. It doesn’t say this, but we can easily understand that Paul was praying. The Lord had said Paul would testify in Rome and it looked like the ship and all hands would be lost. Paul has an angelic visitation in Acts 27:23 and the message is in
Acts 27:24 ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar, and behold, God has graciously granted you all who are sailing with you.’
Granted is a word we would use when someone has made a request and “The language here (v. 24, kecharistai soi, has graciously given you) suggests a granting in response to prayer for the safekeeping of all.58 The implication is that Paul has been asking for deliverance on behalf of the whole ship’s company (like Abraham interceding for the people of Sodom in Genesis 18:23–33).2
- Acts 26:19-24 I Was Not Disobedient To The Heavenly Vision
- Acts 26:25-32 Do You Believe The Prophets?
- Acts 27:21-26 You Ought To Have Followed My Advice
- Acts 26:1-32
- Acts 27:1-26
- 1. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Festus, Porcius. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 790). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
- 2. Peterson, D. G. (2009). The Acts of the Apostles (p. 690). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.