And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains” (Acts 26:24-29).
As he made his defense, “Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!’ But he said, ‘I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.’ Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’ And Paul said, ‘I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains’” (Acts 26:24-29).
In Acts 26:1-29, we see Paul, a man of God, making a compelling argument in presenting the Gospel (“before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles”) just as Jesus prophesied to His disciples while He was physically with them (Matthew 10:18). In this gripping account, Festus brings Paul out of confinement to testify before King Agrippa. Paul said to King Agrippa, “today I shall answer for myself before you” (Acts 26:2). He spoke to the king and to Festus of his devotion and fidelity to God, saying that he was being judged for the hope of the promise made by God to the fathers: a promise that all twelve tribes hoped to attain. “For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:7-8).
Paul testifies before King Agrippa and governor Festus that on the road to Damascus he saw Jesus alive after He had been crucified. He continued this account by saying that Jesus personally spoke to him in the Hebrew language and gave him instructions that he should preach to all that He, Christ, was the first to rise from the dead. His testimony was so compelling that Agrippa said, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” Paul answered him, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains” (Acts 26:29).
I, like Paul, would that you become Christian, both almost and altogether, that you would be undaunted as you face trial after trial, and that you would be resolute and resilient in facing every opposition.
To be continued….