“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
“My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?”
Remember how Paul gained respect from the Roman guards by explaining that he was born a Roman citizen? He is doing a similar thing now in showing that he isn’t a recent convert to Judaism, but was raised in it and knows it deeply. He has been part of the strictest, truest, most accurate group of Jewish religious leaders ever.
Remember the setting in which Paul is giving this speech! Festus, his court, King Agrippa and the Queen, and their court, and numerous other important officials all dressed up as fancy as can be. It says it was like a ceremonial parade when they all arrived.
And there is Paul. Jewish prisoner who has been locked up for well over 2 years, but educated and eloquent in his speech.
He establishes that he isn’t crazy and that his beliefs aren’t off track with what he has always believed. He even establishes how Christ’s resurrection fits into the salvation history of the Jewish people and the 12 tribes of Jacob!
We know that Paul has been writing letters (many of the ‘prison letters’ make up half of the New Testament!) and teaching guests as they came to visit him in jail. He is not unprepared for this opportunity.
Whether you are an imprisoned evangelist, a homebody, or an exiled Jedi around a bunch of sand, your everyday practice is going to make you or break you. If you spend your days diving into the latest QAnon stories, you’ll end up being an expert in those things. If you spend your days studying the Bible and talking about it with your friends, you’ll end up being an expert in those things.
Paul’s daily practice, even in prison, was to reflect on and grow in the knowledge of the resurrection of Jesus.
So when the time came for him to appear before a king, he knew exactly what to talk about.
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