Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Acts 25:23-26:3 (NIV)
Paul Before Agrippa
23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high-ranking military officers and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write. 27 For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.” 26 Then 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, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
Have you ever been called on to defend your faith?
I can’t imagine Paul’s courage as he spoke against his accusers and still proclaimed Your truth. The closest I came to something like that was when I attended an ELCA town hall meeting many years ago. The group of 4 ladies that I was with prayed with our pastor before we left and went armed with Your Word. We listened as they were promoting changes contrary to Your Word that ultimately would change the fundamental teachings and the very foundation of what the Bible is. We stood up in front of a board, pastors, and other people while we each spoke about our faith in what Your Word says. We were jeered, snubbed, and ridiculed by the people in the audience. It was a terribly hard thing to do but we strengthened each other. When Paul was defending his faith, he points to Jesus. He points out the way of forgiveness. Lord, society has turned against You. I have a choice to either quietly go with the flow or to stand up for what I believe in. I believe Your Word is true. I believe that people need to know about Your love. I believe that I am called to proclaim my faith in You even if it is unpopular and that I could be judged unfairly. You are my ultimate judge. You are my ultimate authority. You are my courage and strength. Help me to have the courage to stand up for my faith in Your Word, confident that Your Spirit will give me the words that You can use for Your glory. Help me to take every opportunity to tell people about Jesus and to follow his example of humble service. Amen