Hope for All

June 29, 2021

Acts 26.24-32           

24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

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

Agrippa asks Paul if he thinks he can convert Agrippa in this one gathering.  And Paul replies that he hopes that Agrippa, and all in the room will become Christian.  From history it seems that Agrippa never did.  But someone in the room must have.  There is someone feeding Luke a steady flow of information about the conversations held between Felix and Agrippa.  Someone in their inner circle responds to the gospel.

We see here, as we will throughout the imprisonment of Paul, that he is able to bring the gospel to people who would not have heard him otherwise.  This is not unique to Paul.  People will continue to find them in places that are not planned or expected.  Charles Colson ended up in prison in the 1970’s for his role in the Nixon scandal.  From that came a prison ministry.  Each of us can see places where we have been given opportunities to build relationships with people we might never have seen or noticed in life before.

It could be random meetings of someone we strike up a conversation with over a coffee in a restaurant.  Or people we are placed with as our children are involved in school activities.  Some of the other parents I dealt with while my kids were in high school would have had nothing to do with me if we weren’t involved with our kids as we were.  And those become opportunities to live our faith and speak of our faith.

Notice how even Paul is not the instigator of the conversation of faith.  He is called in by Felix and Agrippa to explain his place here.  They elicit the conversation that brings up Paul’s faith.  We don’t know who we will be meeting up with each day, but we know that God is working in us, and them, to place opportunities for grace in life.  And we, and they, can be blessed by what comes from it.

SongOceans

Prayer

We praise you, God almighty, for the power you have shown in creating the world.  We thank you for your love in redeeming us from sin and in creating us anew in Christ.  Grant us strength in this life to honor you, Lord God, both in worship and in witness, for Jesus Christ’s sake.  Amen.

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