RHYTHM: Crazy Smart – Acts 26

Pentecost Acts 26Tuesday before Pentecost: Acts 26:19-29

Reading: Acts 26:19-29

Crazy Smart

It’s really hard to know where to start with this one. Today’s reading from Acts 26 finds Paul in the middle of a few really difficult years. He was arrested at the temple after a riot erupted after a false accusation against him gained traction—the charge was that he defiled the temple by bringing a Greek in with him, immediately revealed to be a presumption, not a fact. The cops show up because of the riot; they remove Paul and narrowly avoid violating his rights as a Roman citizen.

Paul ends up essentially under house arrest in Ceasarea. For two years. Thanks, Felix. As a favor to the Jews, Felix leaves Paul there when he steps down as governor. Festus has an understandably difficult time understanding the details of Paul’s situation. Paul, as a citizen, has the right to appeal to the emperor, and does so. Festus is stumped as to what to write down to send with Paul, so he invites King Agrippa to sit in and listen. Paul knows that Agrippa is aware of the Way and all that happened with Jesus and leans in to his knowledge of Jewish scripture and Jesus as an extension of those. At this point, Festus interrupts with, “Dude, you are too smart for your own good.”

Is that possible? Maybe.

Paul’s knowledge of his own rights may have protected his life. But it may have complicated it as well—Agrippa indicates that if Paul hadn’t appealed to the emperor, they probably could have just let him go. More importantly, Paul’s knowledge about the foundations of his faith kept him in the game and gave his voice clarity in his own defense. He only shares his conversion experience about 87 times in the book of Acts, after all.

For reflection:

How has knowledge undergirded your faith?

Can you ever know too much about what your faith is built upon?

 

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