Who’s in charge?

OPENING PRAYER

Father, help me to live out of the belief that You are able to work in every situation.

 

Read: ACTS 25:23--26:1A

[23] The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high-ranking military officers and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. [24] Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. [25] I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome. [26] But I have nothing definite to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write. [27] For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.” [1] Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 

 

Reflect: ARE PAUL’S CIRCUMSTANCES LIMITING HIM OR OPENING DOORS?

There could hardly be a grander event for Paul to make his defense at. The room is filled with important, influential people, and the occasion is surrounded by ceremony. Even though Festus has already decided that Paul is innocent, he may well have hoped for further clarification of things, to enable him to write his report for the emperor. What is actually going on is a fulfillment of prophecy: in Acts 9:15 God has told Ananias that Paul will carry his name before Gentiles and kings and the people of Israel, and this occasion is perhaps the best example of him doing so. I wonder if Paul knew about this prophecy. Whether he did or not, the circumstances in which he is about to defend his faith have arisen as a result of what he began to do immediately following his conversion (Acts 9:20), not because he has been manipulating them to get where he thinks he should be. Paul proclaimed Jesus, and all that followed in his life came about because he proclaimed Jesus and had a burning desire to let as many as he could know about him. 

 

APPLY

Journal about this: are you yielding and obeying with trust that God will do as he said?

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Father, open my eyes to the reality of Your hand at work even in the midst of the enemy’s greatest opposition.

 

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