For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.”
And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”
And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”
Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.”
And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”’
Paul might have wanted to get out of jail and be free again, but that wasn’t Jesus’ calling for him. Jesus told Paul to be brave. Jesus said that Paul would preach the Gospel in Rome, and Paul could see this was the way he would get there.
In many ways, this was simply a case of a Roman citizen being accused by locals to a feverish, riotous level. Every time Paul spoke to a crowd (in the last moments before he was apprehended) the whole crowd would lose their minds and try to kill him.
In other ways, this is God using every flaw and benefit of the ruling government to advance His good news and save the world.
Paul uses every opportunity he has to preach to speak the truth about Jesus. It says when he spoke to Felix:
Paul did not hold back any of his teachings, but also didn’t directly attack any of the leaders he was speaking to. Felix was awful and was eventually transferred away from the Jewish territories because he was so brutal to them. King Agrippa was not a righteous man either. He knew the Law of Moses and the prophets but he ignored the Levitical laws about marrying his sister.
And Rome, don’t even get me started about Rome!
But Paul didn’t get started either. He kept his message to the resurrection and salvation in Jesus Christ.
His appeal to Caesar was like appealing to the Supreme Court — and they had to take your case. Festus dares not send Paul to Caesar without some kind of charge for him to explain, but Paul isn’t making it easy on them. Paul is working the system perfectly and evangelizing as he goes.
How is the Holy Spirit using you to work within the world’s system today?
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