Today’s post is a little devotional thought on Acts chapter 26. I wrote it for a study we’re doing on the book of Acts in my Bible class at school. I thought it would be awesome to share with you here as well.
I hope you guys enjoy and are blessed by this devotional in some way!
“And Paul said, ‘Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am – except for these chains'” (Acts 26:29).
These were the words of the apostle Paul as he stood before King Herod Agrippa II. Now, King Herod wasn’t a good man at all. He wasn’t even interested in hearing the gospel that day. In idle conversation with the Roman governor Festus, he learned about the strange man imprisoned for spreading the love of Jesus. Entertained by this report, Agrippa requested to hear Paul speak the gospel. This wasn’t because he wanted to hear it; he simply thought Paul’s testimony would be amusing.
At the hearing, Agrippa and his sister Bernice came in with a great ceremony. They were haughty monarchs with no desire for anything but wealth, honor, and idolatry. Then Paul came in. The man of God entered the room shackled as a common criminal. He was imprisoned for no reason other than his identity in Christ.
Paul was full of love for those around him. He loved Christ, and he loved all people despite how immoral and cruel they were. He loved the very people who put him in prison, not only this time, but countless other times; who stoned him; who scourged and tortured him; and who caused him to starve, thirst, and go without sleep (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-28). He even wished that God would allow him to take these people’s place in hell so that they could take his place in heaven (see Romans 9:3). This was the kind of unconditional love and deep devotion that lived in Paul’s heart.
Paul’s love extended to King Agrippa in an extraordinary way on the day of the hearing. Paul stood before the king shackled, in humility and reverence, and asked the king if he would be willing to listen patiently. Agrippa listened, expecting only the amusement he had desired. Instead, he was in for a surprise. Paul opened his heart to the haughty monarchs and governor before him. He spoke to them, with great reverence and love, about his past persecuting the Christians just as they were doing now. He told them about Jesus’ entrance into his life, and how from then on his life was filled with the light he shone on them now. And in that light Agrippa saw clearly. He saw the beauty before him. He was almost convinced to have what Paul had.
Paul exclaimed, in great faith of the king’s longing: “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe” (Acts 26:27).
Sadly, Agrippa chose not to answer this call. Instead he replied with scorn, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28)
This is when Paul spoke those beautiful words: “‘Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am – except for these chains'” (Acts 26:29).
Paul wanted everyone in that room to be saved. He had no desire for revenge, even saying that he did not want them to be shackled for their faith as he was.
This is the kind of love that God wants us to have for others. As soon as we pledge ourselves to him, we should long for and pray for the salvation of others, and never miss an opportunity to witness. Even if that opportunity is frightening, as it certainly was in Paul’s case.
Christ calls us to have a heart to share.
I hope you enjoyed this little piece of encouragement!
Before I end this post, I’d like to ask how y’all are doing. Comment down below and tell me where you are with life and writing. Chat about anything you’d like! I’d love to hear from you.
You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!