Text: Acts 26:1-23
To grow in practice of the Way
To grow wise in spiritual conversations with others
FOR A THIRD TIME, Paul makes his defense. Now his audience is Herod Agrippa II, the son of that Herod who had James the brother of Jesus executed, and who himself was struck down by God for his hubris (Acts 12:23). The younger Agrippa is rumored to be more faithful in his observance of Jewish religious life and the Law, so he is shown in this episode to be a sympathetic audience for Paul.
Now, at one level, we might expect Paul to insist that he has not wavered from the path of God and that the accusations against him are bogus (I didn’t do nuthin’, yer honor!). But Paul, intent on demonstrating his clean conscience, tries to show to Agrippa that his daily deeds and works are shaped and guided by the message he proclaims. It is by God’s help that he lives and moves through life (v. 22), and the message he proclaims about Jesus is entirely consistent with what is known of God’s ways from Moses and the prophets.
In our world, hypocrisy is easily sniffed out and consistency is the antidote. Imagine yourself before Agrippa: to what in your life would you point as the sign that you live in the hope that comes from God? Our manner of life—patience, gentleness, repentance, genuine love for all—is the testimony, and, like anything in life, they take practice. Paul may have connected his current life to his training in his youth, but there is no time like the present to start practicing.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks