Day 35 - Acts 26:19-27:13 - 40 Days in the Book of Acts

Acts 26:19-27:13

19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. 21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

He tells the King that he was not going to disobey Jesus in the vision that He received.  FYI - vision here means literal appearing, not some kind of dream state.  

He declares that he has been talking to Jews and Gentiles all over the place.  That they should repent of their sins, change their minds, follow God and do what what He asks of them (good works).  It is because of this message (not the other trumped up stuff they are harping about) that motivates them to want him dead.  

Paul now testifies to the glory of Christ that everything he is talking about was prophesied in the Old Testament.  There would be a suffering Savior that would die for them, but be resurrected from the dead and that person would show people the real way to live their lives and gain eternal life in heaven.

24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” 29 And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”

Festus didn't respond well to all of this.  But then again, most people who feel conviction can have a bad reaction to it at first.  He calls Paul a madman.  How many times have we been called "crazy" for our faith in Jesus.  Paul tells him that He isn't out of his mind, but rather that he is speaking the revealed Word of God.  Words that are inspired by the Holy Spirit, words that are true and good.  

Paul then points out that the king knows exactly what he is talking about.  Jesus' death and resurrection are a public event, know to all.  Paul asks the king if he believes the prophets, then answers the question for him - he does.  If he is Jewish then he has to believe. 

Agrippa then figures out what is going on.  Paul is trying to lead him proclaim Jesus as his Savior.  He rejects his attempt to convert him but Paul is stubborn if anything.  His answer is a beautiful one.  Whether it takes a long or short time I would that everyone who will hear me will follow Jesus like I am.  Except of course, the chains he is locked up in.  

30 Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Agrippa says what others have been thinking all along.  Paul is innocent and should have been sent free.  If he hadn't asked to see Caesar he would have been.  At this time in the Roman empire, it isn't illegal to be a Christians.  As far as Agrippa see this, Caesar will just set him free.  

1 And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. 2 And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. 3 The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for. 4 And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. 5 And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7 We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. 8 Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

Paul and some other prisoners are transferred to the custody of a centurion named Julius.  They are going to leave port and head up the coast of Asia Minor.  Luke apparently books passage too so he can stay with Paul as well as Aristarchus, a believer from Thessalonica.  At Sidon Julius allow Paul to go see his friends and be cared for.  Whatever anyone could do for the prisoners was one less thing the centurion had to do for them.  

From there they set out to the island of Cyprus.  However, the winds were not in their favor.  They switched to a wheat ship from Egypt that was heading to Rome.  But even as that ship sailed, it could not reach it destination.  Eventually they reached a place called "Good Harbors" near the city of Lasea. 

9 Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12 And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.  13 Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore.

All of these westerly winds had wasted time.  It was early October (the Fast was over) and everyone knew that it was a dangerous time of the year to be sailing.  He has already been in three ship wrecks, so as an expert he tells those in charge that if they continue sail they will lose everything.  

So much for listening to experts in ship wrecks.  The Captain and pilot convinced the centurion that they could winter in a place called Phoenix and winter there.  When a favorable wind began to blow, they set sail. 

English Standard Version (ESV)