Unstoppable! 'Paul's Background' — Acts 26:4-8

Saturday, December 2, 2023

[Paul continued his defense before the Roman governor, Festus, and Agrippa, who was the Roman-appointed king:] "As the Jewish leaders are well aware, I was given a thorough Jewish training from my earliest childhood among my own people and in Jerusalem. If they would admit it, they know that I have been a member of the Pharisees, the strictest sect of our religion. Now I am on trial because of my hope in the fulfillment of God's promise made to our ancestors. In fact, that is why the twelve tribes of Israel zealously worship God night and day, and they share the same hope I have. Yet, Your Majesty, they accuse me for having this hope! Why does it seem incredible to any of you that God can raise the dead?"

— Acts 26:4-8 NLT

Key Thought

After some general background about himself and about the Israelites, Paul talked to Agrippa and Festus about Jesus' resurrection, the "most important" aspect of his faith (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). 1 Corinthians chapter 15 is Paul's extraordinary explanation of the significance of Jesus' resurrection and Paul's defense of the Good News centered on the resurrection. His words to the Corinthians* help us understand his emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus as the center of Christian hope. Paul's life was lived around the hope of a coming victorious resurrection of the righteous, and Jesus' resurrection ensured that hope is trustworthy. Paul could endure, and teach others to endure, all sorts of trials, sufferings, and persecutions because the resurrection of Jesus ensures the triumphant resurrection of all who believe in him and follow him as Lord.**

* See the first Related Scriptures Reading.
** See the second Related Scriptures Reading.

Today's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, thank you for the assurance we have that we will share the resurrection and celebration of all those who belong to you and have faith in Jesus' victory over sin, death, and hell. Lord Jesus, thank you for entering into death and the realm of the dead to win our release from the power of sin and death over us. We believe in your resurrection, and we anticipate your return for us. Holy Spirit, please work in us to draw us closer to the Lord and arouse our spirits to yearn for Jesus' return. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-58
  • Romans 8:18-39; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 26:4-8 NLT — [Paul continued his defense before the Roman governor, Festus, and Agrippa, who was the Roman-appointed king:] "As the Jewish leaders are well aware, I was given a thorough Jewish training from my earliest childhood among my own people and in Jerusalem. If they would admit it, they know that I have been a member of the Pharisees, the strictest sect of our religion. Now I am on trial because of my hope in the fulfillment of God's promise made to our ancestors. In fact, that is why the twelve tribes of Israel zealously worship God night and day, and they share the same hope I have. Yet, Your Majesty, they accuse me for having this hope! Why does it seem incredible to any of you that God can raise the dead?"

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.