Monday, June 29, 2009

Reading Challenge: Acts 25-26

Welcome back everyone. We have two days left of the book of Acts. I hope you have learned a great deal and have a deeper appreciation for the origins of the church and its early mission.

Today's reading is from Acts 25-26

Of these two chapters there is one exchange that I believe is the most fascinating. Paul is giving his defense before Agrippa. Agrippa calls Paul crazy, but Paul tells him that he is both sane and reasonable.Then Paul asks him if he believes the words of the prophets, to which Agrippa answers,"Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?" 29Paul replied, "Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."

I love how Paul didn't care who it was, he was willing to unashamedly share his faith and his desire for Agrippa to come to that faith. Take-away: Do I have the intensity of Paul for sharing with others the hope of Christ? Do I truly want to see people reached as much as Paul did?

Your thoughts?


  1. I've always had some questions about Paul.Yes he was bold and he was a great missionary,but my thought is that he was quick to use the Roman card and he had used it a time or two before too.Why did he do that? Was it a lack of faith that God could work and get him out of situations,or not waiting on God and His timing? Or what else?He could have been released after his meeting with Festus,Bernice and Agrippa if he hadn't demanded an audience with Ceasar.
    Anybody have a comment about this?

  2. Laurie,

    I believe that Paul used the Roman card to get to Rome. I had a professor once explain that when you look at Acts 1:8 is says Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. At that time, the ends of the earth was Rome. Rome was the ends of the earth because it was the ruler of the entire ancient world. If the gospel gets to Rome, then the gospel gets to the world. That is why the book of Acts ends immediately as Paul is in Rome, its as if the mission was accomplish, the gospel had made it to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. If this argument suffices for you, then you can conclude that Paul is using his Roman card to get to were he ultimately desires to share the gospel: Rome.

    Just some thoughts that could help you chew on this. It does seem weird though that Paul seems quick to use it. I used to wonder why he didn't just shut up because it looks like he would have been released, but then again, they may not have been what he was looking for.

    Hope this helps some.

  3. Hey Laurie. Good questions. I sometimes ask that same thing. In my scripture reading, I feel like God has shown me that Paul often played the Roman card because it was his chance to get in front of the biggest audience. Yes, he was preaching to anyone and everyone who would listen, but if he could make his way up to see Caesar, it would not be a closed court session. It would be a spectacle that the entire town would be at. Now I don't think that Paul intended to convert the Romans or even Caesar, though I'm sure he prayed diligently for that conversion to take place, but I believe he knew that if he could gain that audience, then the message would be reaching that many more people when he plead his case.

    This is what I wanted to comment on. The fact that Paul, no matter what situation he found himself in, never changed his testimony to suit the needs of the culture or the situation. His methods certainly were dictated by those things, but the message never was. He told the same story to everyone, from a beggar to Caesar. Then he allowed the truth of what he spoke, through the Holy Spirit, to convict those who he spoke to.

    This goes to what we always say at the Journey. We have an open hand/closed hand policy on how we do church. In the closed hand lies the Gospel message. It is the message of Jesus and the death and resurrection that gives us life and hope of eternal life. It holds our theological stance, if you will. This hand is closed because those are the things that we are not willing to compromise on changing. The open hand, however, holds everything else: the way we do church to reach a group of people, the places we'll go when called, the methods we use to spread the gospel, etc. You've heard Erik say before... we would go right up to the point of sin (without actually sinning) to reach someone for the Gospel of Jesus. I believe that this is the same idea that Paul had for his ministry. Playing the Roman card was part of his "open hand" policy. He knew that by doing it, it would reach and serve soooo many others. I don't believe for one second that he ever did it for his own benefit. If you actually think about it, by doing that... he got himself into more trouble than if he hadn't, on many occasions. We see that right here in this passage of scripture. King Agrippa himself says that Paul could have been simply released, had he not appealed to Caesar.

  4. Thanks guys for your insight.Maybe it was his motive/mission to go to Rome.I reread ch 20:24.Perhaps Rome was the finish line.I also know God can use us in spite of ourselves too.But, the idea of Rome as the goal makes more sense.Maybe his going solo was because he knew his situation was unique in being a Roman citizen and Jewish.Perhaps that was his way of sparing the others who might have been sent to Jerusalem and been ambushed or put to death.The fact that he always shared his simple testimony with everyone from beggars to kings like Robbie said speaks to his dedication to truth. Thanks for the input.You've given me food for thought.

  5. Paul was a master of his past story. The testimony of his life was a story of how God worked through his circumstances and brought him to that Damascus Road experience. From that point his "tell" was weaved with His(God's) story in the fabric of Paul's life.

    May God grant us all the opportunities to do the "Tell" before seekers, the curious, children of God, and yes even those that would take our lives

  6. I love how, once again, Paul's confidence shines through and he says what needs to be said. He is fearless in sharing the good news and he seemingly loves the chance to do so.

    Am I that excited to share the good news with others? Do I look for every opportunity to share with those around me?