ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 117

L UK E – A cts
case with the king. “There is a prisoner here,” he told him, “whose case
was left for me by Felix. When I was in Jerusalem, the leading priests and
Jewish elders pressed charges against him and asked me to condemn him.
I pointed out to them that Roman law does not convict people without
a trial. They must be given an opportunity to confront their accusers and
defend themselves.
“When his accusers came here for the trial, I didn’t delay. I called the
case the very next day and ordered Paul brought in. But the accusations
made against him weren’t any of the crimes I expected. Instead, it was something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus, who Paul insists is
alive. I was at a loss to know how to investigate these things, so I asked him
whether he would be willing to stand trial on these charges in Jerusalem.
But Paul appealed to have his case decided by the emperor. So I ordered
that he be held in custody until I could arrange to send him to Caesar.”
“I’d like to hear the man myself,” Agrippa said.
And Festus replied, “You will—tomorrow!”
So the next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived at the auditorium with great
pomp, accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city.
Festus ordered that Paul be brought in. Then Festus said, “King Agrippa
and all who are here, this is the man whose death is demanded by all the
Jews, both here and in Jerusalem. But in my opinion he has done nothing deserving death. However, since he appealed his case to the emperor,
I have decided to send him to Rome.
“But what shall I write the emperor? For there is no clear charge against
him. So I have brought him before all of you, and especially you, King
Agrippa, so that after we examine him, I might have something to write.
For it makes no sense to send a prisoner to the emperor without specifying
the charges against him!”
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak in your defense.”
So Paul, gesturing with his hand, started his defense: “I am fortunate,
King Agrippa, that you are the one hearing my defense today against all
these accusations made by the Jewish leaders, for I know you are an expert
on all Jewish customs and controversies. Now please listen to me patiently!
“As the Jewish leaders are well aware, I was given a thorough Jewish
training from my earliest childhood among my own people and in Jerusalem. If they would admit it, they know that I have been a member of the
Pharisees, the strictest sect of our religion. Now I am on trial because of
my hope in the fulfillment of God’s promise made to our ancestors. In fact,
that is why the twelve tribes of Israel zealously worship God night and day,
and they share the same hope I have. Yet, Your Majesty, they accuse me
for having this hope! Why does it seem incredible to any of you that God
can raise the dead?

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