Paul Before King Agrippa

  1. INTRODUCTION: Scripture reading Acts 26:2-23

      1. Felix’s wickedness as governor had caused the Jews to brings complaints to be brought before Nero, who had recalled Felix.
      2. Porcius Festus was appointed to be the governor in A. D. 60
      3. Festus was a tremendous improvement to the former governor Felix, as he was honest and
        straightforward in his dealings with the Jews.
      1. This visit was made only three days after coming to Caesarea. [Acts 25:1].
      2. Upon his arrival in Jerusalem "The high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him" [Acts 25:2-3]
        1. The Jews were beseeching Festus to have Paul brought to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
        2. If this could be done, the Jews would be "laying in wait in the way to kill him".
          1. This plot the Jews had formed to rid them of Paul.
          2. The plot was similar to the one they had tried to carry out two years before in 
            Acts 23:12.
      3. Festus says Paul will stay in Caesarea when he is as prisoner as he would shortly be returning 
        to Caesarea. [Acts 25:4-5]. And says to the Jews:
        1. Those that "…among you are able, go down with me," (Acts 25:5)
        2. There "….accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him" (Acts 25:5).
    3. Festus returns to Caesarea after a period of about ten days and immediately following his return he sits on the "judgment seat" [Acts 25:6]
      1. He "commands Paul to be brought" before him.
      2. The Jews that came down from Jerusalem "…laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove" = Acts 25:7.


      1. The Jews have made their charges against Paul. Acts 25:7
      2. Paul says to Festus: "Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar , have I offended anything at all" = Acts 25:8.
      3. Festus wants to show kindness to the Jews:
      4. Note: This just exactly what Felix wanted to do in Acts 24:27.

        1. That is do them a favor, or a pleasure: responds to Paul brief statement in verse 8, and 
          asks Paul, "Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?" = Acts 25:9.
        2. The answer to this question is the address that Paul makes before Festus: Paul’s appeal to Caesar.

        Acts 25:10-11 = "Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if  there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar."

      5. Festus confers with the council and says: "Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? Unto Caesar shalt thou go." = Acts 25:12.
      1. They had come to salute Festus on his appointment as governor (Acts 25:13).
      2. After several days Festus tells Agrippa about Paul that Felix had left in bonds (Acts 25:15-21)
        telling Agrippa of what he knew of the situation.
        1. He had been confronted with the Jews about the man on his recent trip to Jerusalem.
        2. The Jews wanted a judgment rendered against him (Acts 25:15)
        3. Festus said it was against Roman law "to deliver any man to die, before that he 
          which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have license to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
          " = Acts 25:16.
        4. The accusers came and I "commanded the man to be brought forth" (Acts 25:17).
        5. The accusers:
          1. "Brought none accusations of such things as I supposed" (Acts 25:18)
          2. They had "questions against him of their own superstition, and of one 
            Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive
            ." (Acts 25:19)
          3. Festus in doubt of these questions asked Paul: "Whether he would go to
            Jerusalem, and there be just of these matters.
            " (Acts 25:20)
          4. When he "appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augusts, I 
            commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar
            " (Acts 25:21).
      3. Agrippa asks Festus to hear Paul himself and Festus says this will be done on the morrow. 
        (Acts 25:23)
      1. Agrippa and Bernice are present with great pomp.
      2. The chief captains of the army are assembled.
      3. The principal men of the city are present.
      4. Festus addresses this noble assembly:
        1. Acts 25:24-27 = "And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here
          present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him. Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write. For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
      5. King Agrippa said to Paul, "Thou art permitted to speak for thyself" =Acts 26:1.
      1. The occasion Paul faces is one of mixed contrasts:
        1. There is the glitter of the king and the powerful governor and a simple prisoner.
        2. There is the splendor of the earthly position and dignity of character.
        3. There are the petty considerations of these unscrupulous hearers, and the sincere
          convictions of this great man of God.
      2. Paul seizes the opportunity of defense to preach Christ, as if completely oblivious of his own 
        state and enters a plea for the risen Christ.
    5. PAUL’S ADDRESS: [ACTS 26:2-32]
      1. Paul is thankful for the opportunity to speak before one of knowledge of Jewish customs and
      2. Acts 26:1-3 = "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently."

        Note: This statement is found among the sayings of Chrysostom: "It is the mark of a clear
        conscience, not to shrink from a judge, who has an accurate knowledge of the circumstances; 
        but even to rejoice and to call himself happy."

      3. Paul speaks of his life before his conversion: [Acts 26:4-11]
        1. There was no conflict to be found here to trouble the Jews as those that knew him knew.
        2. Acts 26:4-5 = "My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee."

        3. Paul had been true to the faith of their fathers, yet bitterness and persecution arose 
          against him.
        4. Acts 26:6-8 = "And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?"

        5. Paul’s attitude during this time toward Christ.

        Acts 26:9-11 = "I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of  the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities."

        Comment: It is possible that as Paul spoke regarding this, that the king was wondering why he had changed his attitude, or mind, toward Christ. Paul next words seek to explain this change that came into his life.

      4. Paul’s conversion: [Acts 26:12-18]
        1. The heavenly vision:
        2. Acts 26:12-15 = "Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and
          commission from the chief priests, At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.

        3. The heavenly charge:

        Acts 26:16-18 = "But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."

      5. Paul’s response to the heavenly vision: [Acts 26:19-23]
      6. Acts 26:19-23 = "Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles."

        1. Paul speaking to King Agrippa, says that in obedience to the vision he went everywhere
          preaching unto the Jews and gentiles.
        2. Acts 26:19-20 = "Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the
          heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance

        3. Paul says that as a result to the vision and carrying out God’s purpose he stood before
          Agrippa in bonds and a prisoner.
          1. Acts 26:21-23 = "For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and
            went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.


      1. Festus:
        1. Acts 26:24 = "And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad."
        2. To which Paul replies to Festus:
        3. Acts 26:25-26 = " But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner."

        4. Paul then speaks directly to Agrippa: "King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest." = Acts 26:27.
      2. Agrippa :
        1. Acts 26:28 = "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."
        2. To which Paul replies: "I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds." = Acts 26:29.
        3. Agrippa takes the governor, Bernice and those with him aside:
          1. Acts 26:30-31 = "And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the
            governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, …
    2. THE VERDICT OF KING AGRIPPA: [Acts 26:31-32]
      1. "…This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds." [Acts 26:31]
      2. "Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar." [Acts 26:32].

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