Paul continues his witness of Christ by making a defense of the Gospel through answering and setting straight the false charges that have been raised against him. He describes his life before conversion, the Damascus road experience and the fulfillment of the Prophets and Moses’ words in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This is instructive because he not only gives his personal testimony but also points to the objective reality of fulfilled prophecy as an apologetic. So both his life and God’s promise fulfilled anchor his approach, not either/or. I stress this point because some within evangelical circles argue that the only thing needed to reach people is our testimony, not some defense like a lawyer performs in a court of law. Scripture just doesn’t support this notion nor should we.
After much of Paul’s account before Festus and Agrippa, the king says:
“In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian” (26:28)
“I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.” (26:29)
Hear Paul’s heart; he longs to see the lost rescued through the only available means—repentance and faith in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. After hearing Paul’s testimony it was obvious to Festus and King Agrippa that Paul was innocent of charges hurled against him (26:30-32).
The apostle here is experiencing the joy of witnessing for Christ through false accusations as Jesus promised would occur for believers (Mt.5: 10-12). It seems that this turn of events constantly repeated itself in the book of Acts. The fact is that the word of the Gospel is an offense to those who are perishing; it’s a stench in their nostrils.
This word rescues sinners and often kills its messengers. Let me repeat that; this word of the Gospel rescues sinners and often kills its messengers. This seems to be the norm in the early church and to this day in many regions of the globe Christ’s messengers are murdered because of the word of the Lord.
What ought we to do as disciples? Cower and disobey or follow the Master wherever He may lead us, not loving our lives even unto death? The rhetorical here is unnerving and oh God strengthen the feeble to follow no matter what!