January 5, 2023
Bishop, W. F. Houston, Jr.
Bible Study Reading: Acts 26
Acts 26:17–18 ( MSG)
17-18 “‘I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in me.’
When First Lady, Donece decided to go back to school to earn her master’s degree, I was excited for her. I was 52 years old our nest was empty, so I too, decided to get back into the field of learning. I knew the sacrifices I would have to make, but I desired to increase my spiritual knowledge and understanding. My wife, in my eyes, is an academic scholar. She loves school! So, her academic transition was fluid. As for myself, I preferred learning on my own. Even in a good program with terrific professors, at age 52, there were days I - was - not - feeling it. It got much better, and we both received our academic honors.
People with advanced degrees were sometimes considered odd, even in biblical times. One may compare Paul's rabbinical education with that of a graduate of an elite university because of his training under the renowned Rabbi Gamaliel. (v. 5; Acts 22:3).
It's no surprise. Festus believed Paul's impressive knowledge was driving him nuts. (v. 24)! Even in modern times, the world outside of Christianity can find Christian truth somewhat peculiar. The two government officials listened in disbelief and ridicule when Paul stated that Christ had risen from the grave. They found this absurd and impossible. (vv. 22–23). When Paul brought up the subject of the resurrection in Athens, people responded in the same way. (Acts 17:31–32). Festus couldn't help but blurt out, "You are crazy!" or "Too much studying has made you crazy!" A standard Greek reference says that this phrase is said to someone whose "enthusiasm seems to have gotten the best of them."
Learning and knowing solely based on human experience is inadequate and corrupt. As a result, the governor's human expectations needed to be corrected. He was concerned that Paul's explanation should not go beyond the capabilities of human knowledge. Everything needs to make sense to us on our terms. Both prophecy and the resurrection are inexplicable unless we consider God's existence.
Paul did not let this discourage him and continued to speak without trepidation. Using the king's awareness of previous events as evidence, he replied coolly that what he said was true. (vv. 25–26). The apostle's testimony in verse 12 exemplifies the complete turnaround in human knowledge when it is subjected to God's control and used for God's purposes and in God's service.
Let Us Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, there's more significance in You than in the world You created. As a result of this limitation, our minds cannot comprehend the extent of who You are. Your grandeur is beyond our comprehension. Amen.