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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Acts 26:24-27:8 The Storms of Life

The events in Acts 26:24-27:8 occur just after Paul has been arrested for the last time. He had an opportunity to speak to King Herod, King Agrippa and the Roman governor Festus. Festus didn’t know anything about Moses and the prophets. Agrippa and Herod, on the other hand, were familiar with Jewish traditions. Agrippa did not oppose Paul’s words like Festus did. The resurrection took place during the Passover, which was one of Judaism’s main festivals. Everyone knew the story. Paul’s story of his own conversion would have been noticed by Agrippa.

Agrippa was convicted of his sins but was not converted. He saw all of the evidence that Paul presented, but he was not completely convinced to accept Christ as his Saviour. Agrippa had no case against Christianity. He was reluctant to accept Christ as his Saviour, just like some people today are reluctant to accept Christ as their Saviour. Paul presented the offer of salvation to both Agrippa and Festus just like he presented the offer of salvation to everyone he met. Christians have two categories of sinners: saved and unsaved. God does not see rich people or poor people. He doesn’t see rank or royalty.

After Paul presented the offer of salvation, Agrippa and Festus discussed Paul’s fate. They wanted to set Paul free, but Paul had already appealed to the Emperor Caesar, which was his right as a Roman citizen. Because Paul appealed to Caesar, there was no choice but to keep him custody and send him by ship to Rome. Unfortunately, the ship set sail late in the season, which was the ideal time for stormy weather, and as mentioned later on in Acts 27, the ship was wrecked in a storm.

The most logical course for the ship to take would have been to sail straight west across the Mediterranean, but that wasn’t possible because of winds and storms. Christianity is often the same. Sometimes we as Christians feel that we are taking one step forward and two steps back, but God is always with. In addition, God is good even when it seems to us that he is not good.

Everywhere he stopped on the trip to Rome, Paul was greeted by many of the friends he made. When Paul was saved, he gained Christian friends. Everywhere Paul went on his many trips, he made many Christian friends. When we are saved, we gain loyal Christian friends who will be with us when times are tough, just like Paul had friends who cared for him and helped him. Doing things for people makes friends, but allowing people to do things for us creates lasting friendships like the friendships Paul had. Paul helped others, and in return they helped him when he needed help.  

The key point in this story is God’s provision. He protected Paul so that Paul could testify about his faith in Christ. He will also protect us when we testify to others about our faith.

Paul was excited about the new person that Christ made in him that he became a life-changing agent in the lives of Festus, Agrippa, everyone he met and all of Christianity. In fact, he was so excited that Festus thought he was insane! When we are saved, we are also made into new people in Christ. Our excitement about our new lives will also make us effective life-changing agents when we share our testimony. The happier we are about what Christ is doing in us and for us, the greater our passion to teach others about Christ will be.

Our enthusiasm will create a response, and it won’t always be positive. Regardless of how impressive or unimpressive our educational background is, there will always be people who will try to find ways to belittle our faith. We may face persecution or ridicule for our faith, but when we do, God will be there to protect us. When our basic purpose for living is to help others find the grace that can set them free from sin, we become brave commentators like Paul was.

1.      Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Nashville, TN: Worthy Publishing, 2013)

2.      ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 10 Bible software package.

3.      Ogilvie, L.J & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 28: Acts (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1983)






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