Obeying the Call

Key Verse: “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.”
—Acts 26:19

Selected Scriptures:
Acts 25:23 – 26:32

THE APOSTLE PAUL HAD been faithfully serving our Lord Jesus as his emissary for about twenty-five years when he was rescued by Roman soldiers from a mob of Israelites who would have torn him apart trying to kill him. The Romans could not understand why his kinsmen sought his life. When they tried to find out by scourging, Paul used his Roman citizenship to obtain a proper hearing. In Jerusalem he was interrogated by the priests and members of the Sanhedrin. He was taken to Caesarea when a plot against his life was revealed. At Caesarea he had another hearing, with the priests and council before Felix, the Roman governor, who had some knowledge of this new way of Christianity. He kept Paul under house arrest, but free to have visitors, for about two years when Festus became governor.

The priests and council then sought of Festus that Paul be brought back to Jerusalem. They hoped to ambush the escorting party and kill Paul. He, knowing this, appealed to Caesar, and Festus complied and decided to send him to Rome. Festus, however, did not have a clear understanding of the accusations against Paul. When King Agrippa and his sister, Bernice, came to pay their respects to the new governor, Festus told them about Paul’s case, how he had been left by Felix as a prisoner for Festus to judge, and how Paul had appealed to Caesar. Festus wanted to be able to write a clear account of the accusations against Paul, but was unable to do so. Thus, he arranged for a private hearing for Paul. Agrippa wanted to attend it. Festus welcomed his presence hoping that as a king over Judea and the land of Palestine he could interpret some of the accusations being made.

When Paul was brought before Festus and King Agrippa, he voiced his happiness that the king would hear his testimony since he was so well acquainted with the customs of the Jews. He explained how he had been brought up as a Pharisee, and his life was well known to the Jews. He was now being accused of many things, especially that he had a hope of a promise, shared by his fathers, concerning a resurrection of the dead. He asked the king, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?”—Acts 26:8

He then proceeded to tell them how he had been opposed to this new sect of Christian believers and how he was determined to exterminate them. He pursued them “even unto strange cities.” (vs. 11) It was as he was going to Damascus with authority from the high priest to place them in prison that a bright light from heaven shined on them and they all fell to the ground. Paul heard a voice speaking to them in the Hebrew tongue, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” When he asked, “Who art thou, Lord?,” he said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” (vss. 12-15) Jesus then gave Paul much instruction as to what he should do and what Jesus would do to help him. “I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light.” (vss. 17,18, New International Version) To this Paul responded with the words of our key verse, ‘I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.’ Indeed, Paul faithfully bore our Lord’s name before kings and Gentiles.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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