Practical Reflections on Acts - Acts 26:25-27:6

Acts 26:25‑27:6  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
25. “But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.”
Paul’s reply is a lovely example of the meek and gentle spirit of Christ we ought to covet: “The servant of the Lord must not strive” (2 Tim. 2:2424And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (2 Timothy 2:24)). Festus was morally very far from being noble, but the Apostle honors the position he held. In a world that is “not afraid to speak evil of dignities” (2 Peter 2:1010But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. (2 Peter 2:10)), let us honor that “worthy name by the which” we are called (James 2:77Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? (James 2:7)) by always giving “honor to whom honor” is due (Rom. 13:77Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. (Romans 13:7)).
26. “For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. ”
Men might despise, discount and disbelieve the truth Paul preached concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, His death and His resurrection. But Christianity the truth has nothing to hide or cover. Festus was well aware of the facts concerning the Christian faith. But this only made him the more responsible for his rejection of its truth. Let us live our lives “in the open,” not seeking to hide or cover anything.
27. “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.”
What a solemn and vast difference between “head” belief and “heart” belief the difference between eternal bliss and eternal condemnation!
28. “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
The king’s reply to Paul was not spoken in seriousness by one feeling the need of turning to Christ. No doubt the satirical jest was his attempt to ease a troubled conscience. The human heart often tries to mock at or laugh away the Spirit’s striving. Believers should never display a “light” or “unsober” spirit concerning the precious Word of God.
29. “And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.”
Paul’s answer flows from divine love and the wisdom which comes only from above (James 3:1717But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17)). What a beautiful example of the joy and satisfaction that Christ alone brings. The Apostle’s heart, overflowing with love, earnestly desired that these proud rulers who scoffed at the truth and ridiculed him might enjoy all that he enjoyed in Christ, save for the chains that bound him as prisoner. His expression was no vain attempt to curry their favor it came from a heart constrained by the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:1414For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (2 Corinthians 5:14)). Do we, who have been so freely blessed (Rom. 8:3232He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)), desire that others enjoy what we have? Do we daily enjoy what we have in the Lord Jesus?
30. “And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them.”
A most solemn moment for the proud monarch and his companions! The publican, convicted before God of his sin, would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven (Luke 18:1313And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. (Luke 18:13)), but these, who had sat together hearing Paul, rise up to discuss his fate. Little did they realize that the “word of truth” Paul had spoken would judge them in a coming day when “every knee shall bow” to the One of whom the Apostle testified.
31-32. “And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Cæsar. ”
Though knowing he was innocent, they missed the moral impact of Paul’s words. Paul had spoken to their heart and conscience, but, as they “talked between themselves,” they do not seem to have heard or understood the Spirit’s message using the Apostle.
In spite of their solemn rejection, Agrippa speaks the truth concerning the beloved Apostle had he not appealed to Cæsar, he might have once again enjoyed liberty. How often we morally appeal to Cæsar (looking to this world for help and sustenance) and, in doing so, are taken captive by it while losing the enjoyment of the “glorious liberty” which is ours as “children of God.”
Chapter 27
1. “And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band.”
Though Paul is included among those prisoners being taken to Rome, he was not only the Lord’s beloved prisoner servant but also “the Lord’s freedman” (1 Cor. 7:2222For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. (1 Corinthians 7:22) JND). The Spirit inspired the Apostle to call himself the Lord’s prisoner, but he was never a prisoner of man, though man put him in prison. Whatever circumstances we as believers find ourselves in, we have the indwelling of the Spirit (2 Cor. 1:2222Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. (2 Corinthians 1:22); Eph. 1:1313In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13)) and “there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:1717Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)).
2. “And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.”
Does it matter to our blessed God and Father if even one of His children seeks to walk in fellowship with Paul’s doctrine to be, as it were, found “with Paul” and his company? The Spirit’s mention of dear Aristarchus as being with us clearly shows our God’s approval and delight in such personal faithfulness.
3. “And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. ”
We are commanded by our blessed Lord to “love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:1212This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:12)). But not every believer in Christ can refresh as a friend. “Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Tim. 1:1515This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. (2 Timothy 1:15)) were two of many believers in Asia who turned away from Paul, rather than refreshing him. “Demas hath forsaken me” (2 Tim. 4:1010For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. (2 Timothy 4:10)) because of his love for the present world. How good when “being let go” we can find our company with those of “like precious faith,” friends with whom we enjoy mutual refreshment.
4. “And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.”
The winds controlled the ship’s movements. May we be deeply exercised about what controls our lives as Christians the winds of human opinion, or the Word and will of our blessed God?
5-6. “And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.”
Though we might wonder why the Spirit has recorded these details, it illustrates a vital, practical principle. We do not know the path that lies ahead in life but He does. God declares “the end from the beginning... the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46:1010Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46:10)). Paul was going to Rome; how he was to get there was all God’s work.
Ed.