The Holy Spirit is leading Paul to powerfully and boldly witness before the large audience in Caesarea where he is speaking in defense of our Hope in Jesus Christ Resurrected. He begins by telling about who he was formerly– a Pharisee charged with hunting down the Christians (those of The Way) and he did this with unbridled fervor. He was hungry with hate to catch and persecute as many Christians as he could. Paul was brutal in his pursuit of Christians.
Paul locked up the saints in prison, cast his vote in favor of their deaths when they were condemned, and punished them in the synagogues as he tried to get them to blaspheme. He was powerful, unrelenting, and all the Jews knew who he was and were proud of him. He was their man.
Not anymore. They want him killed. In his defense Paul states, “I stand here on trial on account of my Hope in the Promise made by God to our ancestors, a Promise that our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship day and night. It is for this Hope … that I am accused by Jews!” Then Paul goes on to ask, “Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?”
The Pharisees taught and believed in the Resurrection. And unless Christ had Risen from the dead there would be no Resurrection of the dead. Pharisees believed the Messiah Savior would come to the tribes of Jesse to give salvation and for our salvation Jesus Christ has come. The chosen ones worshipped in the temple night and day in anticipation of the Savior. Paul’s testimony is of Christ. Glory to God.
1. Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and began to defend himself. 2 “I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 because you are especially familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews; therefore I beg of you to listen to me patiently. 4 “All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, a life spent from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem. 5 They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I have belonged to the strictest sect of our religion and lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand here on trial on account of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors, 7 a promise that our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship day and night. It is for this hope, your Excellency, that I am accused by Jews! 8 Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? 9 “Indeed, I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem; with authority received from the chief priests, I not only locked up many of the saints in prison, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being condemned to death. 11 By punishing them often in all the synagogues I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was so furiously enraged at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities. Acts 26:1-11