Then Agrippa said to Paul, You are permitted to speak for yourself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:…
He asserts —
I. THAT THE THING FOR WHICH THEY ACCUSED HIM WAS THE GREAT RELIEF OF THE JEWISH NATION (vers. 6-8).
1. The Messiah in whom he believed was the grand "hope" of the Jewish people. It was a hope —
(1) Founded on a Divine promise. The Old Testament was full of this promise (Genesis 3:15; Genesis 22:18; Genesis 49:10; Deuteronomy 18:15; 2 Samuel 7:12; Psalm 133:11; Isaiah 4:11; 7:14; 9:6, 7; Jeremiah 23:15; Jeremiah 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:23; Daniel 9:24; Micah 7:14; Zechariah 13:1-7; Malachi 3:1).
(2) Mightily influential.
(a) In its extent: "Our twelve tribes" — the whole Jewish people.
(b) In its intensity: "Instantly serving God day and night." Even to this day the hope of the Messiah burns in the heart of the Jewish people. The disappointments of ages have not quenched it.
2. The resurrection of Jesus demonstrated that He was this Messiah (ver. 8). They would not accept the fact of Christ's resurrection, though they could not deny it. The language implies that it was to the last degree absurd for them to consider the thing "incredible."
II. THAT THE CAUSE HE NOW ESPOUSED HE ONCE HATED AS MUCH AS THEY DID. He understood their prejudices, for they were once his own (vers. 9-11).
1. As a well-known Pharisee, he conscientiously set himself in opposition to Jesus of Nazareth. Conscientiousness is not virtue.
2. He manifested his opposition by the most violent persecution of Christ's disciples.
III. THAT THE CHANGE EFFECTED IN HIM, AND THE COMMISSION HE RECEIVED, WERE MANIFESTLY DIVINE.
1. The change (vers. 12-15).
2. The commission (vers. 16-18).
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: