Read 346.) Acts chapters 24 thru 26. It’s the Spring of AD 58, when we start our reading. Chapter 24 opens with Paul in Roman custody and imprisoned in Caesarea. While there, he has opportunity to speak in his own defense at least twice. During his first defense, his focus was upon the resurrection of all the dead, v.15+21. And since he made a distinction among those raised, between the righteous and the wicked, he took the next occasion to speak of how that the distinction between those two had to do with faith in Jesus Christ, v.24. He further went on about the necessity for righteousness, resulting in a new life of self-control, or the certainty of judgment in torments and fire, which put fear in the heart of Felix. Not enough fear however, as Paul had many more opportunities to speak to him, but Felix left office and Paul in prison after 2 more years.
From chapter 25, the new governor, Festus, very soon after taking office, offered to let Paul be tried again by the Jews before him. This got nowhere, other than for Paul to appeal, as was his right as a Roman citizen, to be tried before Caesar. A higher official, King Agrippa came soon after, to pay respects to the new governor, and he also had opportunity to hear Paul, at the governor’s request.
Chapter 26 is the record of Paul’s defense before King Agrippa. Of greatest importance within his defense is how that in verse 8, he speaks of the resurrection from the dead. This is to be unto eternal life! Next, verse 18 makes clear the necessity for repentance toward God, and faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of one’s sins. Verse 20 reinforces this necessity for repentance and a turning toward God, which will have its outward demonstration in a person’s life; a new life of self-control, 24:25. Of the greatest importance to our understanding, however, is the very basis upon which our repentance, faith and the giving and receiving of the forgiveness of our sins stands. It is upon that which Paul declares in verse 23; the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for all men everywhere! This is the Good News… the Gospel of God’s grace. This message appeared unto Festus as insanity, just as Paul said it would in I Corinthians 1:18. But, for us who believe it, it is the very power of God unto our eternal salvation, just as Paul wrote in Romans 1:16! It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell