Paul concludes his defense before King Agrippa, having testified (see Part 2) that nothing more than what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass and that the Christ, the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to all people:
“And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.’ But Paul said, ‘I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner’” (Ac 26:24-26).
Remember that Festus is a political appointee of Rome, but Agrippa is the reigning king of the Jews. If Paul had done his work in the shadows, he would have been working in disunity from God’s people. But Paul points out that his work has been a visible and public attempt toward perfect unity with God among all the Jewish people!
We should always make sure that our work in the church of Jesus is done openly, promoting perfect unity, and “not in a corner,” whispering.
“’King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.’ And Agrippa said to Paul, ‘In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?’ And Paul said, ‘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’” (Ac 26:27-29).
If we believe the prophets of the Bible, we are on the road to perfect unity with our brothers and sisters! Then Paul would ask if we believe the New Testament prophet, Jesus of Nazareth, and the writers of its books. And he might answer, “You are not far from the kingdom of God!”
“Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, ‘This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.’ And Agrippa said to Festus, ‘This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar’” (Ac 26:30-32).
Paul has known all along that he will go to Rome to proclaim the risen Christ, because Jesus himself came to him in the night commanding him to go to Rome (Ac 23:11). Had he been released, he likely would have been unable to get a free trip to Rome. Some “scholars” have criticized Paul for not accepting release when it was clearly imminent.
But the roots of wisdom grow deep and strong in obeying God in perfect unity, especially because he sent his son Jesus in person!
Remember, in perfect unity with God, he also sends us Jesus in another form whenever we ask – the form of the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts!