Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Acts 24-26
I want to begin with a little historical background: Today we’re going to read about King Agrippa and Bernice. Bernice was his sister and she pretty much ruled as queen because Agrippa never married. Bernice was actually married a few times, the first one around the age of 13, but in her later years lived in Agrippa’s household and ruled alongside him. Their father was also King Agrippa and their mother was a Jew and therefore the two of them were Jewish. It is of great note that they actually flaunted their Jewish ancestry and this seemed to serve them well in the Roman Empire – which really offers a lot to consider. There were rumors and speculation about their relationship and I consider them in the category of Lashon Hara (your phrase for the day) and would prefer us not even entertain them in this group.
Oh, during all of these interrogations of Paul we will still see that the folks were in a quandary as to what to do with poor old Paul as he was still a Roman citizen and thereby afforded certain rights which they knew better than to abuse. A Roman citizen held a lot of power in the world in that time and anyone who abused them pitted themselves against the entire empire.
You’ll also see where Felix was hoping for a bribe from Paul and would have probably released him had he of provided it. In the end, he was left with the still troubling issue of not being able to release him – lest he have the Jews wrath to deal with, and not being able to punish or put him to death because of his Roman citizenship.
That is just a general background for you, let’s dive into some specific verses.
For we have found this man a plague… -Acts 24:5
I always laugh out loud when I read this. May we all have the honor of being considered a plague by those who would rise up against the Father.
Acts 25:8 I’m sure y’all know this but I feel compelled to point out that Paul is stating he has not gone against the law of YHWH. In fact, in our passages today he will tell us that he was actually a Pharisee. Now the issue with the Pharisees is not that they didn’t keep the law of YHWH, but that they added their own laws, rules, and traditions on top of it and forced others to keep their law as well. Further, they treated their law as if it were equal to and in some cases superior to YHWH’s law. By Paul telling us that he was a Pharisee, he is also telling us that he meticulously kept YHWH’s law. From there, after his revelation with Messiah, he has been condemning man’s law, which ends up making following YHWH a burden. Doing it YHWH’s way, as Messiah taught, brings freedom and life. Paul has seen that and now he is doing his level best to teach such to others.
Acts 26:14 pay attention to what language the Messiah speaks in when He addresses Paul. You’ll need this information someday.
“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. Acts 26:19-20
Notice the pattern set forth earlier in the Word that is continued throughout the gospels and letters: First to the Jew, then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).
I don’t point this out to say that we are lesser than our Jewish brethren and I know you are tired of me talking about this but why do I talk about it so much? Because it is brought up so much in the Word.
When does a Father repeat Himself? When it is important.
So again, I don’t make this point to say that we are lesser than they in terms of our Father’s love or anything like that, but to just continue to flush out the poison that has gone through the body of Believers for far too long. We were grafted into this tree, we did not replace it, and we will soon read an admonishment not to become arrogant towards the branches which were broken off so that we could be grafted in. This may not fully click now but you’ve been unknowingly collecting pieces to this puzzle since Genesis and soon we will fill in the remaining pieces to reveal the fuller picture.
Acts 26:24 gave me another chuckle.
And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” Acts 26:24
When we get into studying Paul’s debate style in later chapters there will certainly be times in which you may very well agree with this statement, but still love Paul just the same. He has a style of arguing that can be a bit frustrating to read at times. I talked about this in my coffee chat Friday morning. Click here to watch that if you missed it. The Father kept me up all night getting ready for that and I do think the video contains some much needed wisdom from Him.
I’m leaving you with this statement from Paul:
And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.” Acts 26:28-29
Paul wanted them to have the faith, the wisdom that can only come from living according to YHWH’s way, and the guidance granted by both. That was his strongest desire for them.
Brothers, sister, I pray for your faith to increase daily. I pray that the Father fill you, that His spirit overtake you and cause your whole heart to pursue after Him. I pray that he open your eyes to see that the freedom the world offers is eternal bondage and what the world credits as bondage from YHWH is eternal freedom. I pray that you trust in Him and I pray that your trust increases daily. I pray for all of us to have the courage to hold onto him, not with one hand on Him and the other stubbornly clinging to the world, but with both hands – and the full strength of each.
And to quote Paul in Ephesians 3:14-19: For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Messiah that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Click here to watch my Coffee Chat: How To Be Wholehearted Instead Of Showing Your Tail
(showing your tail is a Southern expression for acting out)
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!