Paul’s Defense Before Agrippa
Open Your Bible
Acts 25:1-27, Acts 26:1-32, Psalm 37:28, Proverbs 2:6-8
Do you ever think about trees and water and wildflowers and how they don’t use words to talk, yet say so much? Right now, there’s a Japanese maple in the garden to my right, and its soft, star-shaped leaves are reaching out into the afternoon light. There’s a whole essay buried inside those leafy branches.
I’m thankful for the agricultural age the New Testament was written in because there are so many tangible, everyday images that remind us of God and His kingdom. Mustard seeds and mountains. Grapevines, sheep, and fruit trees. While creation bears silent witness to what it has seen, we’re called to bear witness with our words as well. I say “as well,” because our own silent witness is also powerful.
The apostle Paul’s divine purpose was to become a servant and a witness of God’s work. In the book of Acts, the Lord Himself declares it when He says, “I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of what you have seen and will see of me” (Acts 26:16). This is why Paul takes great care to carefully argue and defend the integrity of his words and behavior before Festus and King Agrippa. He assures them he’s being rational, “speaking words of truth and good judgment” (v.25).
What Paul has seen is great. Revolutionary. He’s seen light from heaven (v.13). He’s spoken with the One who fulfilled the promised hope of the ancestors (v.6). He’s seen his own personal transformation in becoming the very kind of person he used to imprison (v.10). And his testimony is made even more powerful because it was his eyesight that was taken away during an encounter with God on the road to Damascus (vv.12–18). The humor in that isn’t lost on me. Paul, the one who was blinded by God, is now bearing witness to Him. It’s the kind of story only God could write, isn’t it?
Paul followed through on his calling to the death, as he continued to serve Christ and speak of all he had seen. He lived a difficult life and one that not everyone could bear so well. But now you and I have the privilege of reading story after story after story of God’s faithfulness and transformation in the lives of both the Jewish people and Gentiles, as the apostle preached the promised message of hope.
We are also called to bear witness to what we’ve seen. What have you seen today that speaks of God? What have you seen that you can share with others? What have others seen and shared with you that points you to the love of Christ?