Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Year: Acts 25-27 for Nov 25

From its beginnings in Acts 21:31 until the end of Acts, the Roman presence around Paul functions in God's purposes for his protection, both where Paul has control (21:40; 25:11; 26:2) and where he doesn't (23:30-31; 24:27; 25:21).

As the station increases in rank, from the soldiers and centurions (21:32) to King Agrippa (25:13), each higher authority is both equally fair and more knowledgeable than the previous. King Agrippa was not further identified to the readers, being the current king at the time of writing (A.D. 44-100, NBD). He is the son (Herod Agrippa II) of the earlier Herod (Herod Agrippa I) who executed James the apostle brother of John the apostle (12:2).

Paul's third recitation of his conversion story is the most polished, including his mission to the Gentiles. Before Agrippa, who is not a Jewish separatist but sided with Rome and was rewarded subsequent to the fall of Jerusalem for his loyalty to Rome, Paul's elucidation of his mission to the Gentiles is just fine. In fact, to Agrippa II Paul is a great scholar, so much so that they have a tete-a-tete moment of mutual recognition (26:24-28). By the time the reader hears the verdict on Paul, we are so used to the providence of God guiding Paul forward, that we say "bring it on!"

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