Bible: Acts 25:13-26:32

Festus Asks King Agrippa for Advice

25:13 After several days had passed, King Agrippa 1  and Bernice arrived at Caesarea 2  to pay their respects 3  to Festus. 4  25:14 While 5  they were staying there many days, Festus 6  explained Paul’s case to the king to get his opinion, 7  saying, “There is a man left here as a prisoner by Felix. 25:15 When I was in Jerusalem, 8  the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed 9  me about him, 10  asking for a sentence of condemnation 11  against him. 25:16 I answered them 12  that it was not the custom of the Romans to hand over anyone 13  before the accused had met his accusers face to face 14  and had been given 15  an opportunity to make a defense against the accusation. 16  25:17 So after they came back here with me, 17  I did not postpone the case, 18  but the next day I sat 19  on the judgment seat 20  and ordered the man to be brought. 25:18 When his accusers stood up, they did not charge 21  him with any of the evil deeds I had suspected. 22  25:19 Rather they had several points of disagreement 23  with him about their own religion 24  and about a man named Jesus 25  who was dead, whom Paul claimed 26  to be alive. 25:20 Because I was at a loss 27  how I could investigate these matters, 28  I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried 29  there on these charges. 30  25:21 But when Paul appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of His Majesty the Emperor, 31  I ordered him to be kept under guard until I could send him to Caesar.” 32  25:22 Agrippa 33  said to Festus, 34 I would also like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he replied, 35 you will hear him.”

Paul Before King Agrippa and Bernice

25:23 So the next day Agrippa 36  and Bernice came with great pomp 37  and entered the audience hall, 38  along with the senior military officers 39  and the prominent men of the city. When Festus 40  gave the order, 41  Paul was brought in. 25:24 Then Festus 42  said, “King Agrippa, 43  and all you who are present here with us, you see this man about whom the entire Jewish populace 44  petitioned 45  me both in Jerusalem 46  and here, 47  shouting loudly 48  that he ought not to live any longer. 25:25 But I found that he had done nothing that deserved death, 49  and when he appealed 50  to His Majesty the Emperor, 51  I decided to send him. 52  25:26 But I have nothing definite 53  to write to my lord 54  about him. 55  Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, 56  so that after this preliminary hearing 57  I may have something to write. 25:27 For it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner without clearly indicating 58  the charges against him.”

Paul Offers His Defense

26:1 So Agrippa 59  said to Paul, “You have permission 60  to speak for yourself.” Then Paul held out his hand 61  and began his defense: 62 

26:2Regarding all the things I have been accused of by the Jews, King Agrippa, 63  I consider myself fortunate that I am about to make my defense before you today, 26:3 because you are especially 64  familiar with all the customs and controversial issues 65  of the Jews. Therefore I ask 66  you to listen to me patiently. 26:4 Now all the Jews know the way I lived 67  from my youth, spending my life from the beginning among my own people 68  and in Jerusalem. 69  26:5 They know, 70  because they have known 71  me from time past, 72  if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party 73  of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 74  26:6 And now I stand here on trial 75  because of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors, 76  26:7 a promise 77  that our twelve tribes hope to attain as they earnestly serve God 78  night and day. Concerning this hope the Jews are accusing me, 79  Your Majesty! 80  26:8 Why do you people 81  think 82  it is unbelievable 83  that 84  God raises the dead? 26:9 Of course, 85  I myself was convinced 86  that it was necessary to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus the Nazarene. 26:10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem: Not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons by the authority I received 87  from the chief priests, but I also cast my vote 88  against them when they were sentenced to death. 89  26:11 I punished 90  them often in all the synagogues 91  and tried to force 92  them to blaspheme. Because I was so furiously enraged 93  at them, I went to persecute 94  them even in foreign cities.

26:12While doing this very thing, 95  as I was going 96  to Damascus with authority and complete power 97  from the chief priests, 26:13 about noon along the road, Your Majesty, 98  I saw a light from heaven, 99  brighter than the sun, shining everywhere around 100  me and those traveling with me. 26:14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 101 Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are hurting yourself 102  by kicking against the goads.’ 103  26:15 So I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord replied, 104 I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 26:16 But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this reason, to designate you in advance 105  as a servant and witness 106  to the things 107  you have seen 108  and to the things in which I will appear to you. 26:17 I will rescue 109  you from your own people 110  and from the Gentiles, to whom 111  I am sending you 26:18 to open their eyes so that they turn 112  from darkness to light and from the power 113  of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share 114  among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

26:19Therefore, King Agrippa, 115  I was not disobedient 116  to the heavenly 117  vision, 26:20 but I declared to those in Damascus first, and then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, 118  and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, 119  performing deeds consistent with 120  repentance. 26:21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple courts 121  and were trying to kill me. 26:22 I have experienced 122  help from God to this day, and so I stand testifying to both small and great, saying nothing except 123  what the prophets and Moses said 124  was going to happen: 26:23 that 125  the Christ 126  was to suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, to proclaim light both to our people 127  and to the Gentiles.” 128 

26:24 As Paul 129  was saying these things in his defense, Festus 130  exclaimed loudly, “You have lost your mind, 131  Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane! 26:25 But Paul replied, 132 I have not lost my mind, most excellent Festus, 133  but am speaking 134  true and rational 135  words. 26:26 For the king knows about these things, and I am speaking freely 136  to him, 137  because I cannot believe 138  that any of these things has escaped his notice, 139  for this was not done in a corner. 140  26:27 Do you believe the prophets, 141  King Agrippa? 142  I know that you believe.” 26:28 Agrippa 143  said to Paul, “In such a short time are you persuading me to become a Christian? 144  26:29 Paul replied, “I pray to God that whether in a short or a long time 145  not only you but also all those who are listening to me today could become such as I am, except for these chains.” 146 

26:30 So the king got up, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them, 26:31 and as they were leaving they said to one another, 147 This man is not doing anything deserving 148  death or imprisonment.” 26:32 Agrippa 149  said to Festus, 150 This man could have been released 151  if he had not appealed to Caesar.” 152 

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