Living the Word Today seeks to provide brief devotional thoughts for daily living from a passage of Scripture. It is not meant to be academic exegesis, but a humble attempt to listen to God’s voice through His written Word.
Scripture Passage: Acts 26:24-27:8 based on the LCMS Daily Lectionary for August 2
Meditation: Yesterday’s Scripture reading left off with Paul saying to King Agrippa, “I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen – that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles” (26:22-23). Paul asserts that his message is clearly based on what the Hebrew Scriptures foretold.
After Governor Festus declares that Paul is insane (26:24), Paul responds, “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do” (26:27). Paul ignores Festus and challenges King Agrippa concerning his personal beliefs. Does he believe the Hebrew Scriptures or not? If so, does he believe that Jesus is the Messiah? Paul leads him to a moment of decision. How will he respond?
Agrippa responds with, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” (26:28), and Paul’s defense before Agrippa and Festus essentially ends there. Agrippa rejects that Jesus as the Messiah, even though he does believe the Hebrew Scriptures. How dangerous is it to have a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, but no faith?
What does it take to come to faith in Christ? Does it take more time like Agrippa questions? Paul responds that it does not have to take more time (26:29). Agrippa could have responded right then and there, but he did not. More time may allow Agrippa to assimilate Paul’s teaching of Jesus as the Messiah, or it serve to harden his heart toward the truth.
Does it take more knowledge of the Scriptures? Agrippa knew the Scriptures. He does not deny Paul’s assertion of his knowledge. Most of us would and do consider a knowledge of the Scriptures as an important means of God’s working in our hearts and lives. Yet, it is not scriptural knowledge that is the problem.
What does it take to come to faith in Christ? It takes the Spirit of God working through the Word of God (Jn. 17:17; 1 Pt. 1:23; James 1:18). By his grace, God works faith in the heart of those who believe (Eph. 2:8-10). Agrippa knew the Scriptures, but lacked the Spirit’s working. Pray for those who are not yet believers that the Spirit would work through the Word of God in their lives!
Agrippa resists and rejects the grace of God that is given to all humanity (Titus 2:11; Jn. 3:16). The offer of Christ is presented by Paul, but Agrippa chooses against it. He remains spiritually dead (Eph. 2:5). Pray for the life of God through the Spirit and the Word to enliven faith in the lives of those who need to know the Messiah.
Who can you pray for today? With whom can you share your life with and the life of God through your life? May the Spirit and the Word be at work in your own life, so that you may share it with others. Meditate on God’s Word. Draw close to God each day. Listen to His Word for you.
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.