Friday: Further Thought – Confinement in Caesarea

Further Thought: “Did the mind of Agrippa at these words revert to the past history of his family, and their fruitless efforts against Him whom Paul was preaching? Did he think of his great-grandfather Herod, and the massacre of the innocent children of Bethlehem? of his great-uncle Antipas, and the murder of John the Baptist? of his own father, Agrippa I, and the martyrdom of the apostle James?

Spectacles on Bible

Image © Stan Myers from GoodSalt.com

Did he see in the disasters which speedily befell these kings an evidence of the displeasure of God in consequence of their crimes against His servants? Did the pomp and display of that day remind Agrippa of the time when his own father, a monarch more powerful than he, stood in that same city, attired in glittering robes, while the people shouted that he was a god? Had he forgotten how, even before the admiring shouts had died away, vengeance, swift and terrible, had befallen the vainglorious king? Something of all this flitted across Agrippa’s memory; but his vanity was flattered by the brilliant scene before him, and pride and self-importance banished all nobler thoughts.”—Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pages 1066, 1067.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In class, discuss Paul’s decision to appeal to Caesar. Was this decision correct (compare with Acts 25:25Acts 26:31-32)? To what extent can we legitimately make strategic decisions to protect ourselves instead of relying entirely on God’s care?
  2. Reflect on Paul’s statement to Agrippa: “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision“ (Acts 26:19, NKJV). What does it tell us about Paul? How faithful are we to our missionary calling as Christians (1 Pet. 2:9-10)?
  3. Paul had a passion for people—not for numbers, but for people. In his final hearing in Caesarea, he said to his audience that his heart’s desire was that all of them would be like him; that is, saved by God’s grace (Acts 26:29). He did not wish his own freedom or justice more than he wished them to experience God’s salvation. What can we learn from his example here? How much are we willing to sacrifice in order to see the gospel spread?
  4. Agrippa had a chance to hear the gospel right from the mouth of Paul. And yet, he rejected it. How can we be careful not to miss great opportunities when they appear right before us? That is, how can we stay spiritually attuned to the realities around us?
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons