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The Pastor's Blog

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While imprisoned in Caesarea for two years, Paul was put on trial before three different Roman officials.

Felix became procurator (governor) of Judea in 52 A.D. and remained in office until 60 A.D. According to the historian Josephus, Felix was a brutal and incompetent leader. Felix was ruling Judea when Paul was arrested in about 57 A.D. and kept the Apostle in prison, refusing to render a verdict on his case and hoping to receive a bribe (Acts 24:26).

When Felix was recalled to Rome, Festus succeeded him. When Festus threatened to send Paul back to Jerusalem to be tried by the Sanhedrin, Paul appealed to Caesar. “I am standing at Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as even you yourself know very well. If then I did anything wrong and am deserving of death, I am not trying to escape death; but if there is nothing to what these men accuse me of, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar!” (Acts 25:10–11).

Before being transferred to Rome, Paul was tried one more time, this time before King Agrippa, the great grandson of Herod the Great. Festus informed Agrippa that Paul “had not done anything deserving of death” (Acts 25:25) and he admitted that there were no reasonable charges against him. So, before Paul was sent to Rome to stand trial before the Emperor, Agrippa listened to Paul’s defense.

“Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You have permission to speak for yourself.’ Then Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense: ‘I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, especially since you are very knowledgeable about all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently’ ” (Acts 26:1–3).

Paul reminded Agrippa of his life as a Pharisee and of his zealous attempts to eradicate the world of Christ-followers. “I was traveling to Damascus under these circumstances with authority and a commission from the chief priests. King Agrippa, while on the road at midday, I saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun, shining around me and those traveling with me. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice speaking to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ” (Acts 26:12–14).

Paul explained his life-changing transformation and continued: “to this very day, I have had help from God, and I stand and testify to both small and great, saying nothing other than what the prophets and Moses said would take place—that the Messiah would suffer, and that, as the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:22–23).

Paul convincingly pointed Agrippa to the Resurrected Redeemer then asked “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe” (Acts 26:27). “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian’ ” (Acts 26:28, NKJV).

Agrippa had worldly possessions, power, and prestige. He was too proud, too self-absorbed, too egotistical, to submit to God. Paul almost persuaded him, but almost doesn’t count. Close only counts in horseshoes.


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