Posts Tagged ‘prophets’

Verse 28: “Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian”.”

Have you seen the Snickers commercial where the stadium technician is painstakingly painting the end-zone with the logo of the team, while the team is practicing? He is drawing each letter with precision detail with spray nozzle, paintbrush, and powder cart; he finally stands up to admire his handiwork after several hours. A football player walks by and says “Hey, that’s great…the Chefs!” Then the realization dawns on him that the team is called the Chiefs. In that awkward moment that he realizes he has to tear down and re-do what took hours to do in the first place, you hear the narrator state, “Not going anywhere for a while? Grab a Snickers!”

King Agrippa is not going anywhere at the moment; he must give a reply. Paul continues his argument with the rhetorical question, “do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” King Agrippa is a good Jew, but he is also a wise politician. I read several Holman sources (Bible and concordance) for background on this. When I was a child, I first read the above verse thinking Agrippa had accepted Paul’s witness and became a Christian. The background research seems to suggest that Agrippa was in a bind; he couldn’t disagree with Paul’s references to Jewish history and the prophets, but yet he didn’t want to appear that he was siding with Paul and possibly lose some political credibility. Thus, he answered in the non-committal reply in verse 28.

Paul continues that he wishes Agrippa and all others in earshot would become like him in this aspect: a follower of Christ…to become just like him, except for the chains.

Always be on the lookout for open door opportunities to witness for our Savior, fellow Christian, no matter how great or how small.

Something to think about.

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Verses 22-23: “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come–that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

Want to get someone’s attention? State that you are saying something or doing something by the authority of a very respected historical figure (now, don’t do this flippantly!) In most cases, it’ll give the audience pause and consideration of you, especially if your audience respects the figure by whose authority you have referenced. Preachers and judges alike often use the phrase “by the power invested in my by…” when referencing their validation of their authority.

Paul here is continuing his defense before Agrippa by telling his own biography of how he used to persecute Christians. He continues with the details of his conversion by Jesus Christ on the Damascus road; he sums up the narrative of his history by telling Agrippa that he was “not disobedient to the heavenly vision”, but went on to proclaim the Good News everywhere. He declared it those locally around them, then hit the road to witness abroad. Again, he justifies what he is doing; he presents that the Jews have tried to kill him over this. And what he does is “saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come”. In effect, you could say Paul is saying that “they want to kill me over the very things Moses and the prophets said…so what have I done wrong?” No good Jew would go against the teaching of Moses and the Old Testament prophets.

So, Paul has set up his foundation for his defense; now he has built up the walls to fortify his argument. Get ready as he puts the roof on next!

More to come.

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Verse 52: “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,”

Some years back when DC Comics was re-introducing Plastic Man to their readers (Plas, being a hero from the Golden Age of Comics, was being updated to the modern age), they ran a 4-issue limited series to re-introduce people to the comic crime fighting capers of Plas and his sidekick, Woozy Winks. In issue #3, Plas pursued Woozy to California; Woozy had become brainwashed into joining the religious cult of a modern-day Atlantean prophet named Rama Lama (whenever his name was pronounced, a retainer would ring a bell on a staff and the sound would go, “Ding Dong”…yes, this was for comic effect.) In the midst of trying to save an old beggar-looking man who accused Rama Lama of being a fraud (which he was), Plas and Woozy rescued the man from Rama’s horde of followers. They began to wonder about this old man, who kept claiming over and over that HE was the real Atlantean wizard (whenever they asked him how he knew relevant facts about the case, he’d say, “because, I’m a wizard!”) The three tried to thwart Rama’s scheme; all the while, the beggar kept insisting HE was the real Atlantean wizard. You see, the music and dancing festival Rama was sponsoring was a ploy to get them all to kick-start an earthquake to destroy California. However, the festival was being held along the San Andreas fault, and kick-started a massive earthquake too soon! Plas used his stretching powers to try and keep the fault from opening, but of course lacked the strength. Suddenly the old beggar chanted a corny spell, temporarily endowing Plas with the superhuman strength to close the fault and save the day, which he did. When things calmed down, they asked him how he did that…to which the beggar replied, “because…I…am…a wizard!” They finally believed him, as he explained that he was the last remaining wizard of Atlantis, and that the state of California was the Atlantean continent that he “accidentally” shunted into North America years ago (“that’s why people out here are just a touch peculiar…it’s the residual magic in the land!”) The funniest running gag of this episode was that the “crazy guy” that everyone thought was nuts, turned out to be what he said he was….it’s just that no one would listen to him.

Stephen is turning the history lesson into a pointed accusation against the council; he demonstrated through historical fact that the forefathers of Israel always persecuted the prophets God sent, even the ones who proclaimed the coming Messiah. And then…point blank…he accused them of killing the Just One (Jesus) themselves, making them just like their forefathers, murderers and betrayers! A footnote in my Holman Bible states it thusly: historically, when sinners are confronted with the truth, it makes them mad…or it makes them repentant.

What if you knew that you were about to deliver the last message you’d ever speak…what would you say?

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