Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Great Or Small

24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” [2] 29 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.”
 30 Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” (Acts 26:24-32 (ESV)
“Your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” I suppose this exposes Festus a bit as being a practical man. Not that he wasn’t educated, or didn’t value education, but he saw its limitations, and had perhaps run into not a few who were rendered incapable in life by an enthusiasm for the ivory tower. It’s funny though that that should be Festus’s argument and reason for denial, when the Areopagus, the quintessential ivory tower, would for the most part laugh at Paul for saying what he said. Most objections to Christianity over the years has been that it is a religion for the simple minded, the naïve, yet, this religion has founded the greatest universities and has captivated the intellectual giants of western tradition.

Paul turns his attention to Agrippa appealing to what he knows as none of this has happened in a corner. Agrippa is amazed that Paul would  try to convert him in so short a time. Would that we all had the zeal that Paul had, great or small he said. Paul just doesn’t care. Thank god for the low hanging fruit if there is such a thing. Never underestimate the power of the Spirit at work in the Gospel.  

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