[Paul proclaimed his innocence to King Agrippa by explaining his conversion and call to share the Good News of Jesus with both Jews and Gentiles:] "And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God — and prove they have changed by the good things they do. Some Jews arrested me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me. But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen — that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God's light to Jews and Gentiles alike."
— Acts 26:19-23 NLT
Paul's defense focused on the continuity and consistency of his message with his Jewish heritage. King Agrippa was familiar with the Christian movement. Because of Agrippa's Jewish background and understanding,* Paul appealed to the Jewish foundation for Jesus as Messiah. Paul asserted that Jesus is the Messiah anticipated by the Jews and the Savior of all.** God's grace and redemption are for all people, both Jews and Gentiles. God's call of Abraham was not just to bless the descendants of Abraham, but also to bless all peoples through him (Genesis 12:1-3). Paul claimed, "I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen — that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God's light to Jews and Gentiles alike." This claim was consistent with what is taught throughout the New Testament. The Christian message is built on the hope of all humanity given through faith, faith like Abraham had (Galatians 3:6-9). Salvation comes to all people through the promises given to God's people, the Israelites, through Abraham (1 Corinthians 1:24-25; Romans 11:17). As followers of Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile, we rejoice in God's plan to redeem all humanity through Abraham and his descendants, especially his descendant Jesus! (Matthew 1:1)
Holy and precious Father, thank you for your plan to redeem all people through Jesus, the Messiah promised in the law and prophets. Thank you for your people, the Israelites, through whom Jesus came. I thank you for the moral heritage you have given us in the Torah, the law that Jesus came to fulfill. Most of all, Father, I thank you for Jesus and your grace that was given to me because of my trust in him as my Lord and Savior. I join with Paul in expressing my praise for your wonderful plan of redemption: