Acts 26:1–11 (NKJV)
1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.”Acts 26:1-11
So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself: 2 “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, 3 especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.
4 “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. 5 They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7 To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. 8 Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?
9 “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
King Agrippa, recognized and lauded by the governor, Festus, now turns his attention to Paul and asks him to answer for himself as to the charges of the Jewish Council against him. Paul responds with a joyful attitude that he would be allowed to answer before the king. He flatters Agrippa slightly, recognizing his knowledge of the Jewish land and religious practices. Paul lays out the fact that he has been a good Jew all of his life. He went through training and mentoring, following in the footsteps of renowned men who taught him personally, and even went so far as to persecute Jewish Christians, signing off on their death warrants so that they could be stoned to death. He even followed them to foreign cities to persecute and sentence them in the Jewish tradition. But now, his brothers in the Jewish faith persecute him, primarily–Paul contends–for his belief in the resurrection. He is astonished that anyone would doubt God’s ability to raise the dead.
It seems, and rightly so, that Paul is setting Agrippa up for the story of his conversion to Christianity. That comes in the next passage. But what one can observe here is that Paul has established that he is still a Jew, and does follow the teachings of the Jews. They have no need to fear him. They have no need to ostracize him or charge him with wrong. However, they are after him, desiring to treat him just as he treated Christians before his encounter with Christ. Sometimes the things you do to others will become the thing others do to you. The Golden Rule still is applicable in today’s world. In this case, Paul saw it first hand. His sowing to the wind had reaped a whirlwind of trouble. However, in the midst of it all, Paul stood tall and trusted God. He still had hope. Even if they did kill him, he had hope in the resurrection. He believed he would see God. Hope today in spite of your circumstances. Believe that God is still watching over you, for He is. Even if you stand before ruler after ruler answering charges, know that your Agrippa does not hold your fate. Only God holds your fate. Trust in Him in all things!
Artwork from https://bibleexposition.blog/2019/08/11/pauls-final-defense-acts-261-32/