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Acts 26

When someone tells me they love jumping out of planes or free-climbing a mountain, I think they are crazy. I deeply prefer my feet firmly planted on the ground. In this scenario, my impulse to call someone crazy is an expression of discomfort and not a literal declaration. 

However, there are scenarios in which we may find ourselves unable to understand someone’s opinion or ideas on a rational, moral ground. We may look at someone and genuinely wonder how they arrived at a certain conclusion.

Paul knows what this feels like as he shares his testimony with King Agrippa in Acts 26. 

In his testimony, Paul claims to believe the same hope of the fathers and the tribes of Israel, that this hope had been prophesied, promised, and taught throughout the Old Testament. He goes on to share Jesus’ intervention on the road to Damascus, turning Paul from his path of darkness to the path of light and commissioning him to be a gospel witness. 

Festus, the governor, interrupts Paul to question, “are you out of your mind?”

As we’ve seen in prior chapters, the proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah and that Messiah suffered and rose from the dead was hard for Jewish listeners. But should it be hard to believe? Was Paul’s faith insane? 

Paul’s confident response reminds us that our faith in Jesus is true, logical, and historical. 

True Faith

Paul, without hesitation, declares his words to be true. Truth is something rooted in reality, it’s a fact about life that can be observable or inherently experienced. We know it’s true that the Grand Canyon is beautiful, that the birth of new life is a miracle, and that taking an innocent life is wrong. 

Paul’s claim says the gospel–and the entirety of its unfolding plan–is truth. How can he claim something so bluntly? Because God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made (Romans 1:20).”

Our world and all of creation point to a divine Creator with a purpose. Paul is not shy to claim what his Savior claimed: “I am the way, the truth, and the life…(John 14:6)” The necessity of the gospel, the accomplishment of the gospel, and the sending of the gospel are rooted in reality. Even more, the truth is written throughout Scripture as divine revelation. Paul has not added to Scripture or brought his own refined message for theatrics or manipulation. Paul is speaking clearly and faithfully the words of the Lord. 

Logical Faith

Throughout the book of Acts, Paul and the apostles appeal to logic when speaking with the Jews. By recounting the history of God’s people in the Old Testament and sharing personal testimonies, they are claiming that everything adds up to Jesus’ death, resurrection, and current heavenly reign. 

The foundational truth claim is the necessity of a savior. The Jews have already proclaimed belief in the God of Israel and Paul challenges their belief with logic. If we believe in the God of Israel then we believe what was spoken by the prophets. What was prophesied? The suffering, death, and resurrection of the Messiah1. Paul is adamant. Nothing coming from his mouth is contrary to or in addition to the words of their forefathers and the people of Israel. It was for this, the work of the Messiah, that they indeed longed for, worshiping day and night.  

Therefore, Paul’s faith is not only true but logical. 

Historical Faith

In his defense, Paul has a third test up his sleeve and we see it in verse 36: “For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped [King Agrippa’s] notice, for this has not been done in a corner.”

Paul now appeals to historical evidence by claiming his message can be tested with eyewitnesses. Paul is essentially holding the king, governor, and other Jews accountable to reality. This is true of Paul’s case and his savior, Jesus. 

If we were to consider the evidence–physically, morally, and culturally–of the resurrection of Christ there is no debate2. The evidence is too great. What does it come down to, then? Faith. 

As Paul experienced in Acts 26, we will surely encounter the world calling us crazy for the faith we proclaim because “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)”

Our job as faithful witnesses is not to convince3 but to proclaim the truth, logic, and history of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our boldness to speak, live, and think as those who have been saved by Christ is not sourced from having all the right answers or theatrical language but from love for the souls of men: “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.”

Paul personally experienced the miracle of salvation–a turning from darkness to light, transferring from the power of Satan to the power of God, forgiveness of sins, and a place among the faithful4. Because of the grace he received, he longed for his fellow men to receive it too. As we’ve seen throughout the book of Acts, the gospel is worthy. 

When the world makes us feel crazy, may the Spirit bring this scene to mind emboldening us to share the good news despite the response. For “whether they hear or refuse to hear they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks5” because the Lord is with us and is accomplishing his redemptive purposes through us.

  1. Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14,  53; Job 19:25-27 ↩︎
  2. For further reading on evidence of the resurrection consider the work of Lee Strobel, Sean McDowell, and N.T Wright. ↩︎
  3. We ought to engage in persuasive dialogue but God alone convicts hearts. The “success” of gospel proclamation is not the outcome, but the faithfulness of the proclaimer. ↩︎
  4. Acts 26: 16-18 ↩︎
  5. Ezekiel 2:6 ↩︎

Are we crazy?


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