July 8, 2018
PAUL’S PURPOSE AND PRAYER FOR HIS AUDIENCE
After Paul gave his defense before Festus, King Agrippa, Bernice and a crowd of Roman military officers and Jewish dignitaries, Agrippa realized Paul’s purpose. It wasn’t only a defense of his innocence, but a testimony of his salvation through the resurrected Jesus Christ. Paul wanted to persuade his audience to join him in believing and trusting in Jesus. This is why Agrippa interrupted Paul, saying, “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”
Agrippa got the point. Paul’s purpose and prayer was that they believe the gospel and follow Jesus. Agrippa had used the name “Christian,” a name first used in Antioch to describe disciples of Jesus (See Acts 11:26). It was a new name, more respectful than that which Paul’s accusers had used, calling him a “ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5).
The “Nazarene” is what they had called Jesus. And it is the name that ISIS recently used to label Christians in the Middle East, forcing them to wear the Arabic letter “N” on their clothes and painting it on their houses.
Paul was proud to wear either name, as long as they identified him with Christ. His purpose and prayer was that others would join him.
July 8, 2016
When Felix, the Roman governor over Judea, heard Paul’s testimony, he accused him of being “out of his mind.” Felix recognized Paul as an educated man, referring to his “great learning” (v.24). Yet, Paul’s report of his vision of the resurrected Christ was too much for the Roman governor. He dismissed it as insanity. Paul’s response was notable. He replied that his testimony was both “true and rational.”
This reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ observation that the testimony concerning Jesus as the Christ can only rightly be answered in one of three ways:
1) It was false and Jesus knew it = Jesus was a LIAR.
2) It was false and Jesus didn’t know it = Jesus was a LUNATIC.
3) It is TRUE and Jesus proved it = JESUS IS LORD!
Felix dismissed Paul’s testimony as lunacy. Yet, many others believed. The truth is, many are “out of their minds” in this world. However, it isn’t those who believe, but those who reject Jesus as Lord, who have been given over to a “debased mind” (Rom.1:28).
July 8, 2015
Paul gave his faith testimony before the Roman governor Festus and the last of the House of Herod, King Agrippa II and his sister Bernice. In his testimony, he quoted the calling that Christ had given him. First, he was one “sent” (“I now send you”). The Greek word for this is apostolos. Paul was an apostle of Jesus. Second, his ministry was to lead people into the light of the gospel and set them free from Satanic lies, so that they might “receive” the forgiveness that Christ offers. Both Festus and Agrippa reacted to Paul’s testimony. Festus thought him mad, while Agrippa admitted that he was nearly persuaded. Both decided Paul was innocent of the Jewish leaders accusations. And both remained unchanged spiritually. Festus continued in spiritual darkness, failing to comprehend the light. And Agrippa continued in bondage to sin, incestuously loving his sister Bernice and idolizing Rome. Yet, Paul had fulfilled his calling. He had shared the testimony that Christ had commissioned him to give. Some people choose to remain in ignorance, while others willfully choose to love their sin over submitting to Christ as Lord and Savior.
July 8, 2014
Leadership gurus often instruct their clients to write a personal purpose statement to bring focus to their life. Paul was a man who often declared his personal purpose statement. Here, he announced his purpose to “testify to everyone” about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. When a life is lived with such singular purpose, it burns like a laser with focused energy. Paul said, “This one thing I do,” not these thousand things I dabble in (Phil.3:13). What’s your life purpose?
July 8, 2012
Paul’s testimony before Festus and Agrippa is an example for us today. God has given us a purpose- to testify to everyone of the Christ.