A Monumental Shift for Paul: Acts 26:1-3
“1) Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense: 2) “In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today; 3) especially because you are an expert in all customs and questions among the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.” Acts‬ ‭26‬:‭1‬-‭3‬
As Acts 26 opens, Paul opens his defense before king Agrippa in Caesaria. This city is mentioned fifteen times in the book of Acts and many monumental events happened at this popular resort city. Not only did Peter preach to Cornelius at Caesaria, this is also where Paul was sent and held in custody for two years before appealing to go to Rome.
We hear much about Jerusalem and Antioch in the early church, but Caesaria was actually the location where God did many monumental things. The influence of the gospel going out from Caesaria penetrated every level of society in the 1st Century. This is where the most influential people of Rome gathered for rest, relaxation and recreation; and God placed Paul there for two years!
It was a popular resort city for many important Roman dignitaries. In Acts 25:13, we discover that king Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus. Don’t miss what was happening in the broader context of Acts 23-26. Instead of sending Paul to seek hearing before all of these dignitaries, God started bringing them to him. God was actively orchestrating a huge strategy and methodology shift for Paul.
Paul’s ministry was switching from a traveling itinerary ministry to a writing and equipping ministry. Rather than personally doing much of the hands on work of ministry, he was forced to equip and train others to do the work of ministry. His new focus by default was writing. As a result, we have much of the New Testament today.
Let me make an observation, Gods ways are much higher than ours. From our perspective, it looks like Paul’s ministry was hindered and shrinking. After all, he spend most of his remaining years in custody. But, from God’s perspective, Paul was launched into the stratosphere. It was his writings that God used to refine the gospel and hammer out the doctrines of the Christian church.
Do you ever feel like complaining or arguing with God about the circumstances of your life. Slow down, get on you knees and ask God to open your understanding and change your perspective. He is most likely doing something you do not see or understand. What you might think is sent against you for evil might be designed by God for a much greater good.
Joseph came to this realization in Genesis 50:19-20. God has worked this way throughout biblical history. Our challenge is to see our circumstances from Gods perspective and align ourselves with His greater plan, will and purpose.
What are you wrestling with God about in your life right now? Slow down, come before God and ask for wisdom. Clean up your life and yield 100% to Him. He might be orchestrating a major shift or transition for you.
Let me make another observation. Something very similar to what God did to Paul may happening to the United States church right now! As we have slowed down our missions endeavor to go into the world with the gospel, God is bringing people from around the world to us!
It is both prudent and important to stand back and adopt a new and fresh perspective. Christians must stop arguing the politics of what is happening and ask God what His purpose is for our immigration crisis? Rather than fighting against many of these innocent and exploited people, Christians must embrace the monumental ministry opportunities God is placing at our doorstep and flood these people with Agape love and the gospel.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global