Sunday, October 28, 2012

On 11-4-12, Acts 26:19-32 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Paul Testifies before King Agrippa aka Paul before King Agrippa.

Paul Testifies before King Agrippa
 Paul before King Agrippa
 Acts 26:19-32
International Sunday School Lesson
November 4, 2012

Jed Greenough

Those that don’t do anything at all as Christians have very little to fear.  Given that for we Americans this is an election year, the same can be said of politicians.  Politicians that draw a line in the sand from which they don’t waver, that ardently pursue those things that they stand for, they will come under attack.
Those that attack them care just as much about what they stand for on their side of the line in the sand.  Many times both sides in their attacks and counter attacks go too far.  Many don’t care the methods used or the validity of the things they say. We can see this in the story of Paul more fully if we don’t just rely on today’s scripture.  The fairly clear beginning in this story can be seen in Acts 21 after Paul’s return to Jerusalem.
At the temple some Jews stirred up a crowd and made the following accusation, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place.”
Paul was seized, beaten and would have been killed if not for the interruption of Roman troops.  From this point we see him arrested by the Romans but then released in a manner of speaking instead of being flogged and questioned when it was discovered that he was a Roman citizen.
But as I said, it was only in a manner of speaking, as the commander of these Romans ordered the Jewish chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to assemble (such was the size of the commotion that had been created over Paul) so that he could ascertain of what Paul was actually being accused.
While in this assembly Paul explained what he was about and as usual there was vociferous debate against him but a most interesting thing happened the following night as we read in Acts 23:11.  The Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”
When we started out I talked about politicians, well like politicians God’s pretty smart too about grabbing the opportunity for publicity!  In the chapters that follow you can see how everyone gets a chance to hear Paul’s story which is really the story of Jesus.  From Roman Commander, to Roman Governor’s Felix and Festus, to King Agrippa and to everyone else in attendance and then it will be time to set sail for Rome.  Please forgive me but it really does remind me of a publicity tour and truth be told, that is what it was, a promotion of the Good News which is “that God has provided salvation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

For Discussion:

1.      Underline in your Bible that portion of verse 20 for today that reads, “and prove their repentance by their deeds.”
2.      Discuss that verse.
3.      Remember in your own witnessing that you may have the opportunity to convince not just an immediate listener such as Paul tried with King Agrippa.  Paul said in verse 29, “not only you but all who are listening to me.”
4.      It may seem obvious but after reading all of Acts 26 and considering what Paul said was true discuss why these Jews wanted him dead.  Just as Paul wanted early Christians dead before his conversion.
5.      Discuss what you think the main issue someone would have found a problem with in believing what Paul was saying?
6.      Read verses 25-27 and then that portion of verse 20 from #1 above again and compare it to Christians who believe but don’t prove it.
7.      Here’s a stretch, sorry.  Discuss the example of Paul’s reaction to being called insane and bring in the New York Jet’s Tim Tebow’s reaction to what Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason said about him as a player near the 6th of August.  (Google their two names if you don’t know what I am talking about).  But to quote Tebow, “I’ve heard nothing but great things about Mr. Esiason,” he said. “I know he was a great player here and I wish him nothing but the best in his announcing. God bless him.”

Upcoming Adult Sunday School Class Commentaries

11-11-12: Paul Survives a Shipwreck aka Paul Sails for Rome Acts 27:1, 2, 33-44
11-18-12: Paul Ministers on Malta aka Paul Ministers in Malta Acts 28:1-10
11-25-12: Paul Evangelizes in Rome Acts 28:16, 17, 23-31 or Acts 28:23-31
12-2-12:   Blessed in Christ aka Spiritual Blessings in Jesus Christ Ephesians 1:3-14

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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