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24 Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” 25 But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. 26 For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” 29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.” 30 When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them; 31 and when they had gone aside, they talked among themselves, saying, “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains.” 32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”  

 

Verses 24-29 are Paul’s appeal to Agrippa to become a Christian. He not only preached content, but he applied his message directly to his audience.  

26:24 

Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” 

Festus, the present governor of Judea with his Roman background, announced that Paul’s idea of a resurrection of a dead body was crazy. He suggested that Paul’s “much learning” had driven him insane. The governor could not tolerate such a message from his worldview; he had to change his viewpoint on what was true to accept the gospel message. Personal prejudice keeps people from the gospel.  

26:25 

But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. 

Paul responded to Festus that he was not insane but spoke with “truth and reason.” If people are to come to Christ, they must face both “truth” (facts as they are) and “reason” (logical process).  

26:26 

For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. 

Paul said to Agrippa that the king already understood what he said. His Jewish background made him acutely aware of the idea of a hope for resurrection. Jewish Scripture about the resurrection was not hidden from the general population. The concept of resurrection was foundational in the Old Testament Bible, even though the Sadducees rejected it.  

26:27 

King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” 

At this point, Paul directly asked Agrippa whether he believed the prophets because he knew the king believed. The apostle pressed him to decide for Christ.  

26:28 

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” 

Agrippa asked Paul whether he was attempting to convert him to Christianity, but he was not ready at that moment to accept Christ as his Savior. Paul “almost” persuaded him to become a “Christian” (Acts 11:26), but not entirely.  

26:29 

And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.” 

Paul replied to Agrippa that he wished the king, and everyone present who heard his testimony, would respond to the gospel. The apostle wanted them saved, just as he had related in his testimony. He hoped to see them become believers without paying the cost of imprisonment.  

This statement shows the apostle’s heart for people to become Christians. He made a direct evangelistic appeal to the king. He left the option open for Agrippa to become a believer.  

26:30 

When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them; 

Paul’s trial came to an end when Agrippa stood up. The king did not want to hear any more from the apostle.  

26:31 

and when they had gone aside, they talked among themselves, saying, “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains.” 

When the politicians went aside, they agreed among themselves that Paul had done nothing worthy of capital punishment. Others had previously said four times that Paul was innocent of a crime against the state of Rome—Claudius Lysias, the commander in Jerusalem (Acts 23:29), Festus (Acts 25:25), and Agrippa and those with him affirmed his innocence. Now, for the fifth time, political leaders affirmed his innocence.  

26:32 

Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”  

The politicians agreed that if Paul had not appealed to Caesar, he would have been set free 

Evidently, Festus got what he wanted from Agrippa’s perspective on Paul’s trial—he was innocent of any Roman crime. That would be his report to the Roman court when the apostle stood trial.  

PRINCIPLE: 

It is not only necessary to defend Christianity, but we must also be evangelistic.  

APPLICATION: 

King Agrippa knew that Paul was doing more than defending himself against criminal accusations; he saw clearly that the apostle presented the gospel to the august group around him. Paul never wasted an opportunity to share the gospel. However, he was patient with Agrippa in explaining the gospel to him. It takes patience to win people to Christ. 

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