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Chapter twenty-six gives Paul’s fifth recorded verbal defense since he arrived in Jerusalem. Because Agrippa was familiar with Jewish customs and issues, once again Paul began with his background and heritage (Acts 26:1-23), as he did with the mob in Jerusalem. He recounted the promises that God had made to Israel throughout the centuries, asking if it was impossible to believe that God could raise someone from the dead. He told of his hatred toward the believers until he met Jesus personally, and he recounted his commission to preach the gospel to Jews and Gentiles alike.
Although Festus could not imagine how someone so learned could believe what Paul believed (Acts 26:24-32), Paul realized that he was making a connection with Agrippa. When he challenged the king to acknowledge the truth of what he had said, Agrippa famously replied, “IN SUCH A SHORT TIME ARE YOU PERSUADING ME TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN?” Paul responded that he did not care if it took a short time or a long time; he wanted everyone who heard him to come to faith in Jesus. As the government officials walked away, conferring with each other, they agreed that Paul was an innocent man. In fact, they would have released him that day had he not insisted on standing before Caesar.