Acts 26:24-32: The logic of faith.

“24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defence. ‘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.’ ” NIV UK

The outcome of this interview could not change the fact that Paul had appealed to Caesar, so his case was out of Festus’ hands. Nevertheless, the key players in the scene had to agree that Paul was innocent. We must not miss the point, though, that Paul was going to Rome because it was the will of Jesus (Acts 23:11).  Although Festus could see that Paul was innocent, it didn’t prevent him from feeling that the apostle had ‘a screw loose’ (24); and Paul has not been the only Christian to be so accused through the centuries. Yet there is a logic to the Christian faith. There is solid evidence for it. You don’t have to commit intellectual suicide in order to be converted. Christian faith is reasonable, intelligent faith, and we are surely right to follow in Paul’s footsteps and ask people to consider this.  Paul could appeal to Agrippa’s knowledge of the Old Testament. There is something powerfully persuasive in seeing how numerous prophecies have been fulfilled in the life of this one Man, Jesus.He could also appeal to the fact that in his day there were thousands of people who knew about Jesus and what had happened to Him: ‘’it was not done in a corner’’ (26).

Some people, when challenged about their personal response to the gospel, evade the question, and come back with an insult, or a joke, or a red-herring, and so on. Agrippa tried his hand at mild humour. He didn’t answer Paul’s question, but he had a jocular one of his own: ‘’Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’’ (28).  Without joking, Paul effectively said, ‘Yes.’ His prayer for Agrippa, and everyone else in that room was for them to be converted (29). Prayer and evangelism go hand in hand. Let’s ensure they are ‘married’ in our experience.

PRAYER: Lord, I see that Paul was unashamedly sure of his ground. Thank you that I can be too