-Paul makes his defense before Agrippa and Festus pointing out Agrippa’s vast knowledge (Acts 26:3) and faith in Judaism (Acts 26:27) and recounting his testimony as he himself turned to Christ. He made a vital point that it was not his religion that saved him, but it was the Savior, Jesus Christ (Acts 26:4-5). This defense was convincing and almost persuaded Agrippa to become a Christian it appears from the text. Paul would have been let go had it not been for his appeal to Caesar (Acts 26:32). They concluded he had done nothing worthy of death or imprisonment (Acts 26:31).
-Some interesting words of Christ are given in this third detailed account of Paul’s Damascus road conversion. God called Paul and sent him “to open their eyes so that they (Jews and Gentiles) may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me (Acts 26:18).” There is some great theology in this statement by Jesus. First, there must be recognition (an opening of the eyes) of our depravity before a living, holy, and righteous God. Our sin is great and separates us from the God who illuminates us in His light and His control (dominion). Repentance (a turning, a changing of the mind, a new direction in life) must occur for us to begin to inherit the Lord’s salvation and receive forgiveness of the terrible and horrible sins we have committed that tear us apart from the God who loves us (John 3:16). The crucial last step is sanctification (a setting apart, a making holy), which happens as a result of our faith in Christ Jesus’ atonement based on His death on the cross, burial, and resurrection (faith is only as good as the object it is placed in). Christ gave Paul this message upon revealing Himself to him along that Damascus road. Then, Paul was faithful to preach it everywhere he went after receiving it.
-*Application* Have you been saved and sanctified? Have you turned from the darkness of Satan’s dominion to the light of the Lord’s authority? Have you believed in Him? Some people might think we are crazy as Festus did with Paul. But the facts of the gospel stand and the resurrection gives us power to hope in a bright future for all eternity. Paul’s hope was for all to be as he was as a believer (Acts 26:6, 29). Let us also tell the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet.
Verses to Memorize: Acts 26:6, 18-19, 29