Acts 26:1 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:
Acts 26:2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
Paul again defends himself against the accusations, or fears, of the Jews. Rome had nothing against Paul, he had broken no Roman law.
Acts 26:3 Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
Paul does not use flattery, we may know that Agrippa was recognized as being quite familiar with Jewish law and customs. Perhaps then he would be a fair judge, if any wrong has been done. Paul begins his testimony starting from his childhood.
Acts 26:4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
Acts 26:5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
Acts 26:6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:
Acts 26:7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
The hope of the promise was the resurrection. Jesus had risen from the dead, Paul preaching this had caused the Jews to seek to kill him.
Acts 26:8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
Gen 28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Through the seed that was Jesus, all the nations are blessed. He proved that he was the Son of God by the resurrection from the cave tomb.
Paul recounts his life as a persecutor of the way
Acts 26:9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Acts 26:10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
He voted with the majority to put some to death, including Stephen.
Acts 26:11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
Compelled them to blaspheme, would we blaspheme the name of Jesus if tortured? Even this could be forgiven.
Mark 3:28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
But to those who do not receive Jesus, they are condemned. It is the Holy Ghost that draws them to Jesus.
Mark 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
Acts 26:12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
Acts 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
Acts 26:14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
The voice of Jesus, speaking in Hebrew, for he too was born a Jew under the law.
Acts 26:15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
Acts 26:16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
Acts 26:17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Would the audience in court open their eyes and turn from darkness to light? The evidence of one of their own pharisees, Paul a high ranking pharisee, and the miraculous encounter with Jesus. His years of unyielding service inspite of persecution. This testimony speaks of a changed life.
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Do not allow the past to control your future. Yield to God, believing in his son and your future will be in God's blessings.
Acts 26:19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
Acts 26:20 But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
Paul explains how God had called him to minister the gospel of Jesus Christ. If they oppose those who God has called, they oppose God; yet they were blind, filled with hate from the devil.
Acts 26:21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.
Acts 26:22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
It was by God's protection and help that Paul survived the hatred of his accusers. It was the gospel message given to the Jews and the allowing of Gentiles into God's plan that angered the proud religious leaders.
Acts 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
Paul speaks the gospel truth, forgetting about himself and attempting to convert the King. Festus cries out against what to him is confusion. The way of Christ is not the way of the world.
Acts 26:24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
Acts 26:25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
Paul speaks with respect to the Governor. His manner was sober and sound. Jesus was also accused of being beside himself, by his friends.
Mark 3:20 And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
Mark 3:21 And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
Mark 3:23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?
Mark 3:24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
Mark 3:25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
Mark 3:26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
Paul spoke words of truth and soberness.
1 Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
1 Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Acts 26:26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
All the world had heard of Jesus and his resurrection. Paul had himself traveled to much of the known world with the gospel message, he would bring it to Rome also. That was the reason for the appeal unto Caesar, the gospel will come with Paul who was to speak to kings, as he was told by the Lord.
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Acts 9:16 For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
Acts 26:27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
Acts 26:29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
Almost, doesn't count. Agrippa missed God, thinking himself to be important and wise in his own eyes, he became a fool. Paul would preach the gospel to the wise and the unwise, to kings and to paupers.
Rom 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
Rom 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Acts 26:30 And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them:
Acts 26:31 And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds.
Acts 26:32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.
Paul was determined to go to Rome and God was in this decision. Paul would go to Rome as a prisoner and as a bond slave to the Lord Jesus Christ. But, the gospel message was not chained, he would proclaim the good news to all who would hear.
2 Tim 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
2 Tim 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
2 Tim 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
What do you suppose Festus wrote in his letter to Caesar?