GOSPEL TO KING AGRIPPA
Leslie M. John
“Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead” Acts 26:8
Apostle Paul took advantage of every situation and proclaimed the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Lord will be pleased with anyone who proclaims the Gospel message as the opportunity permits; and the Holy Spirit brings the individual hearing to the Knowledge of the Truth. It is up to individuals to accept or reject the good news.
Here is a situation where Paul facing trial before King Agrippa speaking about the Good News of our Savior, which made an impact on the King.
Paul was rescued by Claudius Lysias, a Roman Centurion, from the mob that attacked him at the temple at Jerusalem. The Jews made attempts to kill Paul because they heard a strange preaching that they never heard before. They thought Paul was preaching against the Law of Moses and the Prophets. The chief captain Lysias took Paul away from the hands of Jews with great violence to Caesarea where he kept him for his own protection. (Ref. Acts 24:7)
Later Claudius Lysias wrote a letter to Felix the Governor about Paul and his arrest. Felix heard Paul’s case and postponed his release on the pretext that when Lysias comes to the council to be a witness he will hear Paul’s case again. The meaning of the name “Felix” is “happy”, “prosperous”, but unlike what his name represents he was highly corrupted Roman Governor who detained Paul in prison for two years. Felix desired bribe from Paul to release him from the prison. Felix knew that there were no legitimate charges leveled against Paul and yet held him in prison without either framing charges or releasing from the prison.
Felix came with his wife Drusilla, a Jewess, and heard Paul concerning his faith in Christ. As Paul spoke of righteousness, temperance and judgment that should come about Felix feared but did not release Paul.
“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him” (Acts 24:24-26)
As it happens usually with corrupted officials the axe fell on Felix who was removed from his office as governor and Festus was appointed as Governor in his place. Festus, intending to do justice to Paul, brought him before King Agrippa to hear Paul’s case because there were no legitimate charges framed against Paul to be executed to death. Festus was in dilemma as to whether he should set Paul free or please Jews or send him to Rome. Earlier when Felix asked Paul if he desired to go to Jerusalem to be heard of Paul refused to go to Jerusalem but insisted that he should be sent to Caesar at Rome inasmuch as he was a citizen of Rome.
When Paul was still in prison without any legitimate charges leveled against him King Agrippa, who was Herod II visited Festus the governor. Festus presented Paul’s case before him in order that legitimate charges may be leveled against him before he was sent to Rome. King Agrippa desired to hear Paul’s case. Festus presented Paul before King Agrippa the next day. King Agrippa conceded Paul to speak for himself in defense. Herods come from the lineage of Esau and they were against Jews and their beliefs.
(Herod the great killed male children when Jesus was born.
Herod Antipas, who beheaded John the Baptist, was the son of Herod the great
Herod Agrippa I was the son of Aristobulus and was the grandson of Herod the great.
Herod Agrippa II, before whom Paul stood to speak for himself, was the son of Herod Agrippa I)
Paul was very pleased that he was given opportunity to speak for himself in defense. He stretched forth his hand in honor toward King Agrippa and explained the facts to him very eloquently and in a very pleasing manner. Paul spoke of his birth, nativity, and his education. He also said that he was a Pharisee. Paul spoke that he was against Christians before his conversion to Christianity and he narrated as to how he proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ after his conversion. Paul knew that King Agrippa was very knowledgeable of Jewish beliefs and their customs and, therefore, he acknowledged King’s knowledge about Jews and the questions that prevailed among the Jews. At one point Paul puts King in a very embarrassing situation by asking him if he did not believe in Prophets.
“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” Acts 26:28
Paul, indeed, desired not only King Agrippa’s conversion but of all those who heard his case. It was one such Herod, (Herod the great) that Lord Jesus Christ was brought for justice but justice was not rendered to Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing that Lord Jesus Christ was innocent Herod mocked him and sent him back to Pilate for dealing with the case of Jesus. King Agrippa was not so much as to insult Paul but heard him kindly and said that if only Paul did not ask to be sent to Caesar he would have released Paul.