©Jeanne E Webster
Paul’s Testimony before King Agrippa—Act 26:1-29
“I am pleased to have the privilege to tell you what the Jews are accusing me of doing, because you are have learned our customs and ways. Please be patient and listen to me.
“I grew up in Jerusalem among my people, the Jews, and they know I was once a member of the strictest sect of our religion, the Pharisees. Now I am condemned for believing God’s promise to the fathers of our twelve tribes, that God would raise them from the dead.
“King Agrippa, do you think it incredible that God raises the dead?
“I have done many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth. As a Pharisee, I chased His converts from Jerusalem to foreign cities, shut them up in prisons, and ordered them to be put to death. I punished them in the synagogues and forced them to blaspheme. I was out to get them at all costs!
“Then one day, O king, one day…as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission to arrest more of them, I saw a light from heaven at midday, brighter than the sun. It shone down upon all my companions and me, and we fell to the ground in awe. I heard a voice speaking to me, speaking in Hebrew,
‘Saul…Saul, why do you persecute Me? It’s hard for you to kick against the pricks.’
“Therefore, I replied, ‘who are You, Lord?’
“He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Get up and stand before me, for I have a purpose in appearing before you. I will make you a minister and a witness both of the things that you have seen and which I will reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles to whom I now send you. You will open their eyes in order to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among the sanctified who have faith in Me.’
“Therefore, King Agrippa, I obeyed this heavenly vision and declared it first in Damascus and in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea and then declared it to the Gentiles that they should repent, turn to God and perform works that show they have truly repented.
“This is why the Jews have captured me in the temple and tried to kill me. However, having help from God, I stand today witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come…that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
As he was speaking this, Festus shouted loudly, “Paul, you’re beside yourself! All your education has made you mad!”
Nevertheless, Paul continued…
“I am not mad, most noble Festus! I speak with the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I speak freely, knows this. For I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention. This was not done in hiding! King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe.”
Then Agrippa answered Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.“
Paul replied, “I wish that you and all who hear me today might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”