Reposted from Pr. Stout:
(32 verses, 4:01 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Paul addresses Agrippa. He’ll compliment him (1-3), which is always a pretty good way to start, explain his origin (3-8), his previous zeal against Christianity (9-11), his conversion (12-16), his authority to preach and the doctrine he will preach (17-23). What follows is the response from both Festus and Agrippa and Paul’s response to them.
MARK & LEARN
- The response by both Festus and Agrippa is enlightening. Once again, we can expect that the Lord’s Word will bring both rejection and acceptance. Agrippa does not give any confession that gives full confidence that he is a Christian, but Paul recognizes there is not outright rejection of the Holy Spirit. Paul’s response? A prayer to God to complete the work and bring Agrippa to full faith and trust in God the Father who raised Jesus from the dead.
- Paul recognizes that his preaching is not his, but Christ’s proclamation. “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.” Christ’s proclamation continues through His Word.
- Vs. 28 is a helpful question to ponder – “And Agrippa said to Paul, ‘In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?’” Up to this point, Acts has been full of immediate conversions, but the bulk, if not all, of those immediate conversions were faithful Jews that heard that the Christ that was to come had, in fact, come and is Jesus of Nazareth. Here, however, Paul is preaching to a Gentile who likely had very little knowledge of the Christ. In this way, this teaches us to be patient in our conversations with those who have little to no (or wrong!) knowledge of the true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Vs. 18, Jesus speaks and gives us the comfort of His work even today. Read this passage out loud and ask the question, “Where was I before Christ and where am I now because of Christ and His Word?” Jesus says that He was sent “to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’” This isn’t meant to downplay the daily struggle with sin, but is meant to hold up Christ’s victorious death and His baptizing you into that death.
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Pastor Christopher Stout