As we sit in the West, where we’ve had a long history of Christianity, we have been so blessed to not suffer the kind of persecution and even slaughter that so many have faced over the centuries. The tide is certainly turning, but it’s difficult for us to imagine all that Paul has faced here in Acts 25-26 as he is brought before the most powerful people in the world at this time. His journey began with a mock trial in Jerusalem where the high priest and temple officials demanded his execution for no reason other than their own jealousy and hatred. That led to protective custody in Caesarea and two more trials by two more godless men who used Paul like a pawn for their own interests. Each time the stakes get raised a little more as each judge had more authority than the one before.
As Paul is brought before the Roman Governor Porcius Festus and King Herod Agrippa II, he related the details of his conversion experience and then gives them the gospel. Remember, this is what Christ commissioned him to do (Acts 9:15). He has been called as God’s instrument to “open their eyes to truth.”
Agrippa and Festus & all the others didn’t realize that they were actually the prisoners on trial that day. They had just been shown the way to freedom, but they deliberately closed their eyes to that truth. The grace of God presents us with an opportunity for salvation from sin, but we must respond to it. There are a lot of people who hear the good news of Christ all their lives yet never respond in belief. It’s true that coming to Christ can be a journey but for those that die on the way – before making a decision to follow Christ – hell awaits, not heaven. Have you responded to that message? If so, what difference is it making in your life today? We have the privilege of taking that same message to the people God brings into our lives as he did Paul. This is a calling we all share, do it today! Press on! Pastor Brian Richard