Acts 24-26: The Irony of Paul’s Imprisonment

In the final chapters of Acts, the apostle Paul finds himself imprisoned and on trial because of his devotion to Christ. He is led before many high ranking Jewish and Roman officials and allowed to state his case before them.

There is one thing he says while he stands before King Agrippa that is worth looking at. In chapter 26, as Paul is making his case, he says this to the king:

My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope zI am accused by Jews, O king!

When it comes down to it, Paul is on trial because of the way he reads the Old Testament. He reads of the Seed of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent and sees Jesus defeating sin and death. He reads the promise of God that Abraham’s offspring will bless all nations and sees that fulfilled in the ministry of Christ and His church.

Paul reads of the king and priest Melchizedek, and sees in him a foreshadowing of the eternal kingdom and priesthood of Jesus. He reads of David’s offspring who will rule over God’s people forever and understands Jesus to be that King. He reads Hosea with the understanding that God’s ultimate display of faithfulness to His unfaithful bride was sending Jesus to forever repair the damage that the bride had done to that relationship.

Paul would see Jesus as the better Shepherd in Ezekiel, the Suffering Servant in Isaiah, and the King who comes from Bethlehem in Micah.

Paul’s hope is that God’s promises to His people throughout the Old Testament are all yes in Jesus.

He’s on trial because he believes what his accusers claim to believe, that God does have a plan to redeem His people out of darkness and bring them into His marvelous light.

This is the hope that we all have, that the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob is Jesus, the one who will fully and finally reconcile all the world to God, and bring everyone one of His children back into His family forever.

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