Daily Reading: 6-3-16
Acts 26:1-11 New Living Translations (NLT)
When we meet Jesus and the Holy Spirit fills us with the ability to know Truth, it changes our perspective of what is truly important in life and drives us to articulate it. We choose our conversations more carefully, because sharing from an eternal life perspective is exalted above all things. Why? Because Christ in us wants others to know Him and the power outflowing His resurrection that is available to everyone. Christ compels us to share Love and the hope of eternity with God. Paul is an example of a compelled man with an eternal story.
Paul has made a journey to Jerusalem where he is arrested for preaching the truth about Jesus Christ by sharing the encounter he had on the road to Damascus. Paul cannot stop speaking a message of Hope—resurrection from the dead—since meeting Jesus. The Jews listen and become furious with his story, so they beat him and demand his death. The Romans step in because they do not like the disruption to the peace; they take Paul to the fortress where he awaits sentencing.
In our passage, Paul is giving his own defense before King Agrippa of the Herodians (Hellenistic Jews). Agrippa is not sitting as judge in this inquiry, but is there to give his opinion on the matter of how to present accusations against Paul to the emperor in Rome. Paul seeks to vindicate his character, articulate the facts of what happened in his life to cause a change in his understanding of Jesus, defend his own conversion, and preach a message of hope to everyone listening.
Acts 26:1-11New Living Translation (NLT)
26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak in your defense.”
So Paul, gesturing with his hand, started his defense: 2 “I am fortunate, King Agrippa, that you are the one hearing my defense today against all these accusations made by the Jewish leaders, 3 for I know you are an expert on all Jewish customs and controversies. Now please listen to me patiently!
4 “As the Jewish leaders are well aware, I was given a thorough Jewish training from my earliest childhood among my own people and in Jerusalem. 5 If they would admit it, they know that I have been a member of the Pharisees, the strictest sect of our religion. 6 Now I am on trial because of my hope in the fulfillment of God’s promise made to our ancestors. 7 In fact, that is why the twelve tribes of Israel zealously worship God night and day, and they share the same hope I have. Yet, Your Majesty, they accuse me for having this hope! 8 Why does it seem incredible to any of you that God can raise the dead?
9 “I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene.[a] 10 Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers[b] there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. 11 Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus.[c] I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.
Prayer: Father, today I live and occupy a place in time, yet help me to remember I also live in the realm of eternity because I am seated with Christ in heavenly places. Compel me to share the eternal riches of Your Love and Truth with others. Give me the strength to stay focused on eternity while being fully present to enjoy today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.