Friday, September 10, 2010

NIPTO, Day 215

Hey alll!
How are you guys doing? I feel like I'm having a one-sided conversation.

I am tired today. But it's Friday. And tomorrow is Saturday. It's going to be a good weekend. I can tell!

Today I basically did school. I watched an episode of Chuck (or half of one that I started yesterday) during lunch.
Took a physics test. Got 100%! And I was worried... psh. God helped me through it. That's all I can say.

Tonight is small group... I'm babysitting... should be... interesting... and I use ellipses wayyy too much... =P

Acts 26:1-32
 1Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2"King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.

Paul is polite. And I think that's all I'm going to say.

 4"The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 6And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

The people who were prosecuting (is that the right word?) him knew how he had lived since his childhood. They knew that he had been a Pharisee in the strictest sense. And now he is on trial for having hope in something. Having hope in a promise that one day the twelve tribes will see the promise fulfilled as they serve God. 
Persecution because of a hope. And why is it so amazing that God can raise the dead? He created people, why can't he bring them back to life?

 9"I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.

Paul is open about his past. He doesn't try to hide anything. He's honest and, again, he's polite.

 12"On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
 15"Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?'
   " 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. 16'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

Paul tells his story. Again. 

 19"So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles."

Paul wasn't being disobedient to God. Just to the Jews. (Shouldn't they have the same views? God and the Jews? Yeah. I thought so too.)
Paul went around and he taught people about God. That even the worst person, the person who was completely against Christianity from the start could still be forgiven.
And that's why they were trying to kill him. But Paul isn't discouraged by that. He knows he has God's help to this very day and will stand and tell his story until it's believed.
He points out that he wasn't saying anything that Moses didn't say. Hey, Moses is a great source! haha

 24At this point Festus interrupted Paul's defense. "You are out of your mind, Paul!" he shouted. "Your great learning is driving you insane."
 25"I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do."
 28Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?"
 29Paul replied, "Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."
 30The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, "This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment."
 32Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar."

Festus interrupts Paul because he thinks he's insane. Paul responds that he is, in fact, not insane and that the king was familiar with this stuff and could speak as he pleased in front of him. He asked the king if he believed the prophets and then answered his own question with an "I know you do." (I feel like Paul could be really cocky sometimes!)
King Agrippa asked Paul if he thought he could persuade him to become a Christian in such a short time. Paul didn't care if it was a short time or a long time just that he prayed he would become what he [Paul] was, minus the chains.
The king stood up and left to talk for a little bit and came to the conclusion that he hadn't done anything worth imprisonment or death.

And the sad thing (kind of) is that Paul could've been set free if he hadn't appealed to Caesar. 

Whew. It is way pas my bedtime! So I'm going to go to sleeep now. G'night blog world!

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