In chapter 25 Paul, brought to trial before Festus, appeals to Caesar. He had just spent two years in prison and was undoubtedly being prepared for his life as a prisoner in Rome. Things that happen to you and me in our daily lives should be taken as God preparing us for the future. I am sure Paul did not understand why he was locked in prison for two years, when he could have been preaching; yet he realized that God was in command and was greater than any situation which prevailed, and through it all God was preparing him. When trials, tribulations, and hindrances come to us, as born-again children of God, we should not falter and complain about them. Rather, we should thank the Lord and learn the lesson He has for us. In every case it will strengthen us and prepare us to be better Christians and better workers for Christ.
In chapter 26, Paul, with hands bound together, in a very polite manner addresses King Agrippa. He very definitely could not respect the king himself, but he did respect the king's office, and realized that God had placed the king in authority over him. Paul tells his story to Agrippa and, with compassion, tells of how Christ had saved him out of a degenerate life. Agrippa's response to Paul was, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." The Bible does not record that Festus or Agrippa were ever saved, but Paul was faithful in proclaiming the Word before these men and the crowd that was before them. What a lesson for Christians today! In any situation, when we make Christ Lord of our lives, He will give us boldness to speak for Him. Every child of God should desire to be a bold warrior for Him.
In chapter 28 Paul turns to the Gentile people. In verse 28 we read, "Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it." The Jews had again turned their hearts from the Word of God. Their hearts had waxed gross, their ears were dull of hearing, their eyes were closed, and they were not interested in salvation. Thus, Paul turns his ministry and preaching to the Gentiles.
There are several practical lessons to be found in our reading today. (1) God prepares us for what lies ahead. (2) Religion without Christ always persecutes the believers. Paul had been guilty of doing this himself, as recorded in Acts 9 and Philippians 3. (3) Religion without Christ will also stoop to any measure to accomplish the purpose of Satan. These Jews, even though religious, would lie and even kill to uphold their beliefs. Christians must never adopt the attitude that the end justifies the means (see I Corinthians 4:1,2). Paul had lived an honest life since his conversion and no man could accuse him. This is the way all Christians should live. We must remember that we represent the King of kings and Lord of lords in our daily walk, and we should never be guilty of doing anything that would bring reproach upon His blessed name.
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