The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
How is the Christian message received? In Acts 26 Paul has been explaining to King Agrippa, Bernice, and Festus that Jesus is the Messiah, the one with power of resurrection. His claims are bold. He is convinced that there is life in nobody other than Jesus.
Festus, not Agrippa, interrupts Paul’s testimony. Festus says Paul is out of his mind. These claims made no sense to a Roman. Paul then appealed to Agrippa, who had at least some understanding of Judaism. Agrippa agreed that resurrection was a critical issue, but questioned how quickly Paul was trying to move him to believing that Jesus is the Messiah just because he agrees that resurrection is part of God’s plan.
The claims of Christ are hard for many to accept. It may take a long time of gentle influence before some will believe. Some will never accept the evidence that Jesus is the Savior. But the Scripture says that all those who believe will receive eternal life.
Paul presents the message of Jesus, the cure for sins, as the best news this world has ever heard. He wishes that everyone would be a Christian, just as Paul is. Yet the court will not receive his word. The largest step they would take was to agree with each other that Paul could be released except that he appealed for Caesar’s judgment.
The testimony given by Paul was effective. It didn’t seem to bring Agrippa, Festus, and Bernice to the Christian faith at that time. Yet it has been a significant element in the salvation of many who have trusted Jesus over the years. May the Lord give his people patience in their testimony.
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