King Agrippa gave Paul permission to speak (311). Strengthened by the Holy Spirit, Paul began: “I am glad, King Agrippa, to present my case to you, especially since you are expert in all customs & questions regarding the Jews. I beg you to hear me patiently.
“All the Jewish leaders know my devout manner of life – even from the time I was learning Jewish law as a youth in Jerusalem. They know that I grew up to live as a Pharisee, the strictest sect of our religion. So it is odd that I am now being judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our first Jewish forefathers. All twelve tribes of Israel serve God earnestly night & day, hoping to attain this very promise. I am accused by the Jews simply because I teach that this hope has been realized, and this promise has been fulfilled, in Jesus. Why do my accusers find it incredible that God has raised Jesus from death?
“I admit that, like them, I also once opposed the name of Jesus of Nazareth. I did this vigorously in Jerusalem, where I had many Christians imprisoned, on the authority of the chief priests. When some of them were executed, I also cast my vote against them. I sought them out in every synagogue; I punished them & even compelled some to blaspheme the name of Jesus. Eventually, my rage against the Christians was so great, that I obtained permission to extend my campaign of persecution to foreign cities.
“As I journeyed to Damascus for that express purpose, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me & my travelling companions. We all had fallen to the ground, when I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is too hard for you to resist me.’
So I said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth. I have appeared to you for this purpose: to make you my servant & a witness – both of what you have seen, and of what I will yet reveal to you.
“I will deliver you from unbelieving Jewish people. I will also deliver you from unbelieving Gentiles. I am sending you now to the Gentiles — to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light & from the power of Satan to God — that they may receive forgiveness of sins & an inheritance among all who are set apart from the world by trusting me.'”
(311) Acts 26:1-18