Untidy Faith

Acts 25-26 | Seana Scott & Amanda Dzimianski

March 21, 2022 Kate Boyd ⎜ Writer, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Biblical Community Coach Season 5 Episode 13
Acts 25-26 | Seana Scott & Amanda Dzimianski
Untidy Faith
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Untidy Faith
Acts 25-26 | Seana Scott & Amanda Dzimianski
Mar 21, 2022 Season 5 Episode 13
Kate Boyd ⎜ Writer, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Biblical Community Coach

Are you disentangling your faith from the culture around you? The greatest tool in that journey for me was the Bible itself. You’ve probably noticed that here on the show we love the Bible, and we take it seriously - but not always literally, and that means that meaning can get a little complicated. But you don’t have to let that overwhelm you. I’ve put together the Big Picture Toolkit to help you understand how all of Scripture fits together in one incredible story, learn some new questions to ask to get at meaning without getting overwhelmed, and see new connections between Old and New Testaments with a special Bible Reading Plan. If you’re ready to get back to basics of your faith, the Bible is a great place to start, and the Big Picture Bible Toolkit can help. Grab yours today free at kateboyd.co/bible.

About Today's Contributors:

Seana is an award-winning writer and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. She writes and speaks to equip and encourage others to know God’s Word, walk with God, and live with purpose. Her writing has been featured at Christianity Today, She Reads Truth, Risen Motherhood, Fathom Magazine, and elsewhere. 


Seana dreams of a generation of women who live with well-souls, rooted in a deep knowledge of God’s word and a life led by the Spirit. When she’s not in the midst of laundry piles and sticky dishes, you can find her in the corner reading and writing, sipping coffee with a friend, or convincing her kids to join her on a hike. 


Seana lives in a suburb of Indianapolis with her husband, three kids, and their pet guinea pigs the kids promised to take care of—but became her husband’s new hobby. Connect with Seana at SeanaScott.com and be added to her occasional email updates for faith encouragement.


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seana_s_scott/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seana.scott.94

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Seana_S_Scott

Amanda is a human learning how to be, and a life-long writer exploring Christian spiritual formation through the lenses of identity and creativity. She delights in inviting pew-weary Jesus people to embrace and experience their own belovedness through questions, mindsets, and practices that help to foster connection with God.


Amanda's roles include writing coach, poet, partner + parent, and a space-maker for curious faith. She spends her days near Athens, Georgia guessing her way through parenting, writing during nap time, and creating as an act of worship.

 

Website: https://amandadzimianski.com
IG: @amanda.idareyoutospellit 

Voxer: @amandafreeindeed 


Kate Boyd - Book | Newsletter | Instagram | Twitter

Show Notes Transcript

Are you disentangling your faith from the culture around you? The greatest tool in that journey for me was the Bible itself. You’ve probably noticed that here on the show we love the Bible, and we take it seriously - but not always literally, and that means that meaning can get a little complicated. But you don’t have to let that overwhelm you. I’ve put together the Big Picture Toolkit to help you understand how all of Scripture fits together in one incredible story, learn some new questions to ask to get at meaning without getting overwhelmed, and see new connections between Old and New Testaments with a special Bible Reading Plan. If you’re ready to get back to basics of your faith, the Bible is a great place to start, and the Big Picture Bible Toolkit can help. Grab yours today free at kateboyd.co/bible.

About Today's Contributors:

Seana is an award-winning writer and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. She writes and speaks to equip and encourage others to know God’s Word, walk with God, and live with purpose. Her writing has been featured at Christianity Today, She Reads Truth, Risen Motherhood, Fathom Magazine, and elsewhere. 


Seana dreams of a generation of women who live with well-souls, rooted in a deep knowledge of God’s word and a life led by the Spirit. When she’s not in the midst of laundry piles and sticky dishes, you can find her in the corner reading and writing, sipping coffee with a friend, or convincing her kids to join her on a hike. 


Seana lives in a suburb of Indianapolis with her husband, three kids, and their pet guinea pigs the kids promised to take care of—but became her husband’s new hobby. Connect with Seana at SeanaScott.com and be added to her occasional email updates for faith encouragement.


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seana_s_scott/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seana.scott.94

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Seana_S_Scott

Amanda is a human learning how to be, and a life-long writer exploring Christian spiritual formation through the lenses of identity and creativity. She delights in inviting pew-weary Jesus people to embrace and experience their own belovedness through questions, mindsets, and practices that help to foster connection with God.


Amanda's roles include writing coach, poet, partner + parent, and a space-maker for curious faith. She spends her days near Athens, Georgia guessing her way through parenting, writing during nap time, and creating as an act of worship.

 

Website: https://amandadzimianski.com
IG: @amanda.idareyoutospellit 

Voxer: @amandafreeindeed 


Kate Boyd - Book | Newsletter | Instagram | Twitter

Kate Boyd:

You're listening to happy and holy the podcast where scripture comes to life through a small group discussion. This season, we're walking through the birth of the church in the book of Acts. And you get to be a fly on the wall to see what new things we learn with and from one another, as we engage scripture in community. I'm your host, Kate Boyd. I'm a disciple maker, writer and speaker, who is making space in the church for Christians caught in the messy middle between conservative and progressive, between leaving the church and leaving. We love Jesus, love people and work with God and each other for a better world. Welcome to the show. Are you disentangling your faith in the culture around you? The greatest tool in that journey for me was the Bible. You probably noticed that here on the show, we love the Bible. And we take it very seriously. But we don't always take it literally. And that means that meaning can get a little complicated. But all of its complexity doesn't have to overwhelm you. And that's why I put together the big picture Bible toolkit. It will help you understand how all of Scripture fits together in one incredible story will also let you learn some new questions to ask to get at meaning without getting overwhelmed. And you'll see new connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament with a special Bible reading plan. If you're ready to get back to the basics of your faith, the Bible is a great place to start. And the big picture Bible toolkit will help you do that. Grab yours today for free at Kate boyd.co/bible Now, let's get back to X. Welcome everyone. Today we are talking through Acts 25 and 26. And I have brought a couple of friends like usual with me to discuss this these couple of chapters. So Amanda, why don't you introduce yourself to everyone listening?

Amanda Dzimianski:

Or? Well, I'm Amanda Szymanski, and I like to call myself a human learning how to be learning how to be present, to be whole to be in relationships with God and other people just feel like that's my. That's my that's what I'm here for. That's my work. And I also love to invite what I call pew weary Jesus people to embrace and experience their own belovedness. And I'm a lifelong writer, and a writing coach and poet, and a full time parent and partner. We started homeschooling this past year. So that's a new role for me. And our family lives near Athens, Georgia. lands which traditionally belong to the east Cherokee, the UG, and the Muskogee Creek peoples. And I'm just super grateful to be here. So thank you for for collecting us, Kate.

Kate Boyd:

Well, thanks for joining. I'm really excited to get to know everyone better through their lenses on scripture, which is always fun. Um, and Shawna, who's also about to start homeschooling so you know, some things in common? Why don't you tell us about yourself? Yes, my

Seana Scott:

name is Shawna and I'm originally from Los Angeles, 32 years, I love the robust city life. And through seminary and journeys, the Lord has landed us in Indiana, outside of Indianapolis, where I am still adjusting to a more slower pace. But I'm learning like Amanda alluded to learning how to be and it is my passion as well to help others, especially those curious about the faith or that have never been churched, to know God's Word, to walk with God and to live a purpose. And all three of those things, I'm still on a journey as well. And they're kind of like the longing of my heart where I kind of zigzag through, like, Oh, I just want to know God's word more, and I feel like I don't know it, or what's my purpose, I feel alive. You know, I'm always zigzagging through these with the Lord and wanting to experience him since so much of my church upbringing was experiencing the Lord and then not knowing His Word. And once I got to seminary, it was knowing His Word so deeply and feeling like I got that disconnect with really experiencing him. So I'm on the journey of marrying those things and realizing that there's space for all of that. And I guess I also write that's my calling is right for ministry.

Kate Boyd:

Nice. Well, welcome you guys. I'm excited. I wanted to talk through these chapters together. And so let's Yeah, we'll jump right in with chapter 25. So Amanda, would you recap that for us?

Amanda Dzimianski:

Yeah, sure. Okay. Look at my notes here. Go for it. Yeah, so chapter 25 opens with some change of leadership. So right at the end of chapter 24, this governor named Felix was replaced by another guy whose name starts with F. Festus and chapter 25 opens with Festus going from Syria, Syria to Jerusalem. And there the Jewish leaders and priests requests that Paul who is currently being held as a prisoner in seseri, at the transferred to Jerusalem. And x gives us this little side note that the reason they want him transferred is so that they can ambush him and presumably kill him. But fastest ones Paul to stay where he is, and he invites the Jews to come and make their accusations before him in seseri. So he returns the Jews follow soon after the Jewish leaders and chief priests and they set up court they bring Paul out and they begin to accuse Paul and Paul continues to maintain his innocence as he has been doing. And you can you can kind of get a sense that Festus is like, Okay, we're going back and forth here and he asks Paul, if he's willing to go to Jerusalem to stand trial, and Paul makes some adamant statements about his innocence. He tells Festus that Festus knows he's innocent, and that he's not trying to just get out of get out of a death that he deserves. And Paul appeals to Caesar. So Festus confers with his council, and he agrees that Paul will go to Rome next. And then shortly after King Agrippa and Bernice visit Festus and that is tells them about Paul's case, and kind of shares that he's at a loss over the religious factors involved in this case, and Agrippa I guess his curiosity is piqued and he asks to hear Paul. So next day, they have this this whole event, they assemble in a great hall, they have a grand entrance, they have military commanders and powerful people from the community are present. And Paul is brought in and Festus present him stating that he personally has not been able to find Paul deserving of death. But Paul has appealed to Caesar and Festus needs the assembly, specifically King Agrippa to help him come up with something to write for an accusation before he sends Paul off to Rome. And that's where chapter 25 ends.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. So if everyone who's listening would listen to the last episode, we know that Paul's been in prison like just held in custody for about two years. At this point. He's just been hanging out having conversations. And because Felix just didn't want to deal with it, or was hoping for a bribe. And so eventually he held off and was like asbestos his problem now it's so Festus is left holding the bag trying to figure it out. And maybe even wanting to make some headway with some Jewish authorities. And so he starts having this conversation and then that sort of brings up Yeah, brings Paul's case back to his forefront. So in this little vignette with Paul and Festus, after Festus, his arrival, Shawna, what were some of the things that you notice or that stood out to you?

Seana Scott:

And that continued wanting to get favor with the Jews? It feels like Festus is trying to, I don't know, play politics, really. You know, I want I want the Jews good graces and yet, I don't have anything against Paul. And it's like, almost like, you don't want to say an answer to anyone because you don't want to ruffle any feathers. And he's kind of in a rock and a hard place. It's like to be a strong leader. You need to make a decision here. Yeah, he's avoiding being a strong leader.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I mean, we sort of saw that with I feel like Felix too. He sort of he held him right. And he was brought there because there was a plot to kill Paul. A few years ago, a bunch of people even made an oath that they were going to be the ones that did it. And if they didn't, they just weren't going to eat or drink until they did. And so yeah, it feels like these Roman leaders are just sort of like holding out. And it I get the sense that Festus hear is sort of like, moving the trial to Jerusalem, because he knows that he doesn't really have anything to do. He feels like that sort of throwing a bone and having having it both ways. But Paul doesn't really leave him that option. At the end. Amanda, what did you notice in this bit? Hmm.

Amanda Dzimianski:

I would kind of agree with Shauna that there was a lot of back and forth, I felt it was interesting that he didn't want to move Paul. And then as soon as the Jews arrive, he's like, Well, do you want to go to Rome? Or do you want to do want to go or not? Rome? Do you want to go back to Jerusalem, and it's interesting how he kind of makes people move around a little bit. Um, and then I just, I get a huge kick out of what he says at the end of chapter 25. He's like, it just doesn't seem reasonable to me to send somebody to Rome for a trial without having some kind of accusation. So so he really does seem to be at a loss, because this seems to be a religious argument, he can't seem to quite be able to wrap his head around it, perhaps as someone from outside the culture coming in. And I find that really, really interesting fact that these leaders were put into place kind of with this expectation heaped on them to be able to handle what was going on even being disconnected from their religious culture, or maybe even just the way people lived, but specifically, the Jewish religion.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, he does sort of get thrown into it. And, and what we saw in chapter 24, is, you know, the religious authorities were bringing up charges, they were trying to make it sound like he was seditious that Paul was, like, you know, doing something horrible against Rome, when really, it was a religious argument. They just didn't like what he was saying. And, um, you know, and that's sort of why Felix just sort of, like, lets him hang out, because he's like, I don't have anything to do, but I'm going to keep you in jail, because it'll make those people feel a little bit better. So I sort of get to have it both ways. So you sort of get this impression that that's just sort of how the authorities worked. They're like, we're kind of just gonna hang out, and we're gonna try to keep it it's that, you know, piece, that Roman piece they're trying to maintain. I'm trying to keep rather than make so that they can just sort of hang out and have all the sides. And, yeah, there's no charges that anybody that he can foresee. But I think Paul knows that it's gonna go sideways if he goes to Jerusalem. And he knows that, you know, the Lord's already told him, he's going to Rome. So he appeals straight from there, because I think Paul senses that the plot to kill kill him is probably not gone away. People really don't like Paul, they tried to kill him and a lot of places we've seen him be nearly murdered and at least, you know, escaped murder a bunch of times up to this point. But to that point, because he's because Festus isn't very familiar with the religious landscape. That's, I think, why he reaches out to Agrippa. Because Agrippa is from a Jewish family that happens to be given authority from Rome. And so he's really leaning on a grip of insights. I think, Shauna, what do you think about him in a grip?

Seana Scott:

Yeah, I absolutely think and I did a little bit of back research on Agrippa. And he was very familiar. He practiced Jewish religion, he wasn't necessarily the most holy person, but you know, he was religious. And so he would have and even Paul says it and as we will get to chapter 26, like you know, grippy you know, these things, and, but also in commenting about, you know, your 24 to 25 transition with all these leaders and things and the charges they were bringing up bringing up in chapter 25. It says that they were serious charges, but they had no proof. So it's like, okay, they know maybe I'm, I'm imagining here, but they know that they can't get Paul on some of their religious Hufflepuff. But maybe if we say these serious charges, we can get them, but they have no proof. So again, Felix is like, professors, excuse me, all these athletes. And it's like, Well, you haven't, you know, proof and I get in and I forget the the passage, but or the verse, But if so is it saying like he needs to be able to give here, it's in verse 16, he needs the opportunity to defend himself. So no, I'm not going to do anything. He needs opportunity to defend themselves. So it's lending toward the justice system. And and I think you're, you're right on and that these leaders are wanting to hang out and not wanting to make a decision. And then here's King Agrippa. And he's like, Okay, well, maybe I can grab this guy in, shed some light, and still be proved to be the hero. He still wants to be friends with the Jews. But he's got to figure this out.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I do appreciate the the quick way that Festus jumps in, I mean, it says three days after he gets there, he's starting to, like, unpack all of this, right. Whereas Felix, like heard a few things, and then let him just sort of sit there for two years without making a decision about it, because he was kind of hoping it would lie in his own pocket. And that's explicitly set in 24. And so we see even the difference, I think, so I think we what we can see is though even Festus is sort of trying to figure out where he fits in all of this, it does seem like he has maybe a little bit more integrity than Felix, he's maybe at least a little less corrupt, because he's trying to move it forward. And not just hanging out for his own sake. So he's making those moves. But he certainly feels a little, it seems like he feels a little conflicted, because he's like, I don't have any charges. But you know, he wants to go to Rome. So I guess we'll let him go. But I need to write this letter.

Seana Scott:

But like earlier, Amanda said, you know, like, he's the new kid on the block. Yeah. And, you know, Amanda's insights about you, he doesn't understand how to navigate, maybe this Jewish cultural stuff. And so in, in verse three and verse nine, it says, He wants to do the Jews a favor, he wants to do the Jews a favor. It's like he's trying to figure out this whole Jewish thing.

Amanda Dzimianski:

Yeah, I did a little bit of research into some of the, the sections Josephus has written or wrote about this time period, and these different families in power. And I was amazed by the level of intrigue, and the amount of murdering going on not just in the Roman circles, but in the Jewish circles. I mean, these scrappy people were fighting for what they believed was theirs for their culture for their country, for their homeland, it was all. I feel like sometimes I read the New Testament, and I, you know, I'm just getting these little high points. But there's this whole undercurrent of political unrest that is in place at this point in time. And there's a lot of people dissatisfied with the culture, with the government, with the Romans. And it's pretty extreme, some of the some of the extreme extents that people in the different communities went to to try to protect their way of life or their national identity. And it was fascinating to me. And so to come back, and then read these chapters and say, Oh, these guys are really trying to tread lightly because they don't want to knock over the hornet's nest. They don't want people coming into their palace trying to knife them in the middle of the night. This is pretty high, high level. Intrigue.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I think that's good perspective. Because you just sort of, it's easy to sort of be like, well, he's just trying to figure it out. But he is actually also concerned because there is so much unrest like he has to be at least a little concerned about being the one in charge, because that puts a big target on your back with especially with someone that is essentially a political and racial Religious prisoner, you know, on their behalf. Um, yeah, he's sort of trying to figure out if he can throw them a bone, but he doesn't really have a reason to.

Amanda Dzimianski:

Right. And I think I think Shauna made a good point a few minutes ago about, he's stuck between that rock and a hard place. He's got the, the Romans on this side and the Jews on the other, and he really just wants to keep his head.

Seana Scott:

And I didn't even realize it was his physical head. I mean, I thought it was his political head. But with your insight, it's like it's also his physical head, or maybe even the physical heads of those he loves.

Amanda Dzimianski:

Yeah, I might be both Yeah.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. So Agrippa says, okay, but I want to hear this guy for myself. So we see, Paul brought in before Agrippa and festa. So before he defends himself this last little bit in chapter 25. Yeah, what did anything else before we move on to the next chapter, like any other little details, or big things that struck you as you were looking through here? Because this is where we sort of see that Festus is like I have, I literally don't know what to write, I'm going to need you to tell me what's happening here. Because the Jews were the ones who really petitioned for Polycom out here. But he's done nothing deserving death. So he's really kind of confused why in the world, he would even need to go. Which is, which feels like such an awkward position, which we've been talking about, but to not even have like, any context for it feels like that would drive me crazy.

Seana Scott:

I think it's funny that the last verse in chapter 25, it says, I think it unreasonable to send some Yeah, no joke, I know reasonable to send someone like face possible death sentence, because you don't even know why like.

Amanda Dzimianski:

Yeah, I, I was really curious about maybe the the procedure of law that, particularly Roman officials in this time period might have been trying to follow. And I did find out that there are Roman law, as far as history is concerned, is sort of divided into three stages. And the first century, which is when this would be taking place was somewhere in the second stage. And Roman procedure was a very, very exact. You had to get it just right. And that might, to me, I began to wonder if maybe that was why Festus wanted to get a second opinion on this, why he wanted to get things just right. Because if you did not present sort of your opening remarks, perhaps in the first stage of the trial, just right, it could be kicked out of court. And I don't know for sure, if when they were sending Paul to Rome, if if it was going to be that kind of a trial, if it had these multiple. There was like first stage of opening remarks. And then there would be a date where you would go before, a different group of people is very complicated and complex. But if, if that was the case, it made me wonder, you know, maybe that's why he wants to have some other people weigh in on what he's going to write about this? Because if if it's not phrased just right, it might kind of get ignored or tossed out or get lost in the shuffle. So I have I have more questions about that than I have answers. But I raised my curiosity,

Kate Boyd:

that is interesting. So one of the commentaries I have been referring to, throughout this series has been the one by Willie james Jennings. And he talks. It sort of reminds me of the part where he's talking about in this section about Felix and Drucilla, and Agrippa being sort of fully assimilated, you know, Roman Jewish people, so they're Jews who are who are able to perform Roman sensibilities. So they're really balancing like we've been talking about this whole time these like really these two dynamics, because that's sort of what Rome excelled at. Right was sort of like exporting their, their culture and their law and their whole thing. Wherever they were to sort of like keep everything to keep that piece right and So what we're seeing here is like this butting up against it because Paul is also Roman and Jewish. And yet he's sort of like refusing to assimilate into either of those cultures. And so you're sort of seeing that rub, because now nobody knows what to do with him. He hasn't technically done anything wrong. But you just sort of know that he doesn't fit in the whole equation.

Seana Scott:

Hmm. Good point. That's a very good point. It does remind me of parenting know how so? Anything wrong? Doesn't?

Kate Boyd:

You're right. You didn't technically do anything wrong. But can we agree with the Spirit? Yeah. Technically, we didn't break the rule. All right. How about chapter 26. Shauna, you want to recap that for us?

Seana Scott:

Yeah. So as we just talked about at the end of chapter 25, King Agrippa is coming in and, and we all already said that he knew the Jewish religion, he practiced, he was religious, even if he wasn't godly. And Paul stands before him with like this unique opportunity, he is going to defend himself and declare the gospel. But, but his defense is more like bearing witness. So it's interesting because it's more of a judicial type of context. But Paul isn't speaking in a judicial kind of way. And he rehearsing says a life, he testifies about Jesus. But he's not like coming against these supposedly extreme remarks of oh, he's done this, he's on that he's not really defending himself he's testifying. And first he starts, he honors a grip and position himself as a Jew, which is very important. Because the Jews were the ones attacking him, the Jews were the ones wanting to destroy him. And he's like, Hey, remember that he said this many times before, like I am one of you. And in verse six to seven, he defines the situation that Paul faces, and I love the repeated use of the of hope. So it says, I'm standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our people, a promise to which our 12 tribes hope to attain for this hope I'm being accused. So it's not even something tangible he's being accused of. He's being accused for proclaiming hope. And then he asked them, you know, if, if all things are possible, so isn't it possible that God raises the dead? So the whole Paul is speaking about that they're mad about is the resurrection. So like this, let's make it clear what we're talking about. They're talking like you speak of a resurrection. We think you're crazy. We want you out. And then Paul talks about his, you know, road to Damascus conversion. And he's saying, Look, I get it. I thought this was crazy to I even persecuted the Christians. But then he goes, explain, like, I locked up the saints, I cast votes when they were being put to death. I punished believers in the synagogues. I pursued them to foreign cities. And then he tells about this great light. You know, we've heard about this before and X, you heard from Jesus yet in this recording, and they include it, you are hurting yourself by kicking against the goats. And then he Jesus proclaims, like, he's like, Who are you, Lord, as he says, I am Jesus, whom you're persecuting. And it's also interesting that we once again here at Paul's commissioning, like nothing is left in the Bible or put in the Bible. You know, by happenstance, Luke is very deliberate about what he puts. And so what's the purpose? And I think it might be I think it might be the purpose of why he's standing there in front of them, declaring this testimony, to serve as a witness of what you have seen. And we'll see. So Paul is witnessing right there, his offenses his witness. And so he continues to share how Jesus said he's, you know, sending Paul to the Jews and Gentiles to open their eyes are turning from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God. So that, and this is the kicker. So like, he's basically preaching. And so that Agrippa that people, the Jews and the Gentiles can receive the forgiveness of sins, be sanctified and set apart once a thing Divine is set apart for sacred service. So it's just so beautiful that he's sitting here defending the right to be able to do what he's doing by saying, like, I'm not even doing anything wrong, I'm just proclaiming hope. And this is the hope of the resurrection that the Jews supposedly believe in. And that that will happen someday the Messiah. And as it is, when we get to this point, I feel like cold breeds means like, Oh, okay. So all of that. I'm proclaiming help, I'm testifying. This is all I'm doing. I'm not murdering people anymore. I was when I was, you know, a Pharisee. So, all I'm doing is obeying God. And he tells a grip of that he's traveled around, he's telling people and encouraging people to repent and turn to God. And for this reason he sees in the temple courts. This reason he stands before Agrippa today, and it's recorded in a few sentences, the Gospel story, but he attributed it to Moses and the prophets, what they said would happen, that the Messiah would suffer and as the first to rise from the dead again, the issue is resurrection. Wood, that the issue is the Messiah rising from the dead, and that he would bring the message of light to his own people, the Jewish people, they're very offended by this, but and to the Gentiles. So that's this interrupts Paul's defense, what was really a testimony in an offense, and the fastest not Agrippa interrupts him and he says, You are insane. Basically, like you have learned too much. You have read too much. You know, like some people probably think of maybe some of us like, you've just read too much. And you're saying too much? You're insane. You're not a you're not maybe a murderer anymore. You're not maybe one of the things that these Jewish people have said that access it tell us what they said. But you're definitely insane. And if Paul, of course, defends himself and refers to King Agrippa, not bestest and says, you should know these things. You're familiar with these things. And I just love this part. Because it's like Paul is there to defend himself. And then it's like, he turns the table. And now, now Agrippa has to defend himself. Because Paul asks him, don't you believe the prophets? Oh, my goodness gracious. As a religious Jew, of course, he believes the prophets. But Paul is equaling believing the prophets to believe in Paul's message. And so King Agrippa does the political thing, just like Festus has been doing? No, not wanting to give an answer to either or he turns around and says, Do you think in a short time, you could persuade me to be a Christian? So he answers Paul with a question. And I love Paul's response. And he's like, Well, yeah, I want you to be a Christian. In a short time, in a long time, I want the world to be a Christian. I want everyone in their mother to be a Christian, basically, except for these chains. So Paul is like, once again, declaring this is why I'm here. I'm here for hope of the resurrection. I'm here for the Messiah has been proved through Moses and the prophets. And yes, that is what I want you to become. And I just love it because it's like a silent Mic drop. And it's like it's over. So they just like, Okay. And that's it. And they just get up and walk out and say, there's no reason to do anything with him. But since he appealed to Caesar to Caesar Hilco, and I think I am inferring this, a text doesn't say, but I think Festus and Agrippa are probably a little bit relieved, because they didn't want to not please the Jews. And they're relieved that Paul, probably, I think, are relieved that Paul said, I'm gonna go to Cesar. That's where we ended chapter.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I mean, he at least sort of like saves. I think two things sort of happen. He saved himself from a potential judgment, not in his favor. And then he sort of saved them from having to make a judgment or, you know, in that way, and yeah, I don't know. I'm a fan of Paul speeches. He, he's added him. This is classic Paul, right. Like, he's supposed to be defending himself. And he's like, Well, so here's what I said. And you can tell me if this is bad, and so he then he just sort of like gives himself an excuse to say the same thing. And even I mean, if we go back to chapter 23, part of the reason he's there is because he talked about resurrection, and he turned the Sanhedrin on themselves because it was full of Pharisees and Sadducees, who do not agree on what resurrection means or if it's a thing. And so it is definitely for Paul, like the linchpin of the believes the linchpin of the hope that exists. And it doesn't. It doesn't matter unless the resurrection of Jesus has happened. So they're like you say he's dead? You say he's alive? Who in the world are we supposed to talk about? And so I just, I don't know, I just love how he, like you were saying he flips it around. And he's like, Well, you know, I'm not really guilty of anything. But this is what I want you to know. Um, so yeah, Amanda, in, gosh, and all of this. So maybe in like the beginning, and when he talks when he's talking about his conversion, what are some of the things that stood out to you?

Amanda Dzimianski:

Well, I think one of the big things that stands out to me, which I think Shauna kind of touched on at the beginning is how Paul positions himself as is as if this is a just a personal conversation conversation between him and Agrippa. You know, in chapter 25, it explained that this was a whole big event. There's a lot of people in this room right now. But he is talking to Agrippa, he keeps using his name, you can kind of get a sense from the way that he's speaking that he's just trying to look this guy right in the eye. And I think that that's this really interesting, I appreciate the fact that Paul could potentially be on trial for his life here. But he's interested in having a conversation with another human being. That's top of his priority list. In this passage, it feels like to me, and I just think that's really cool. That's really cool.

Seana Scott:

I think in that like him seeing people, I think back to the Areopagus, like, he saw them and then spoke into who they were, or what they were thinking and feeling. And so he sees Agrippa, he knows who he is, in an interesting way. And I mean, not personally, personally, but just all throughout X. I feel like, even as Paul's writing his letters, you know, let me read his letters. It's like he sees people. So it's a really good point, Amanda.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I mean, to your point, he knows this isn't like an informal thing. This is like a formal state dinner, basically, like he's being invited. And to an extent, he's sort of performing in that way, right. Like, it says that he moved his arm. And apparently, that's like, you know, something that's done and like, these official sort of judicial things, but he's it for him. It's not necessarily like, but he knows his one goal and the one person that he needs to be talking to. And, and that's one thing that stood out to me too, was the amount of times that he said, King Agrippa. Like, he was very, very specific in the way that he was addressing him. And he continually said his name, and I, and I don't think that I've seen him do that in any of his other speeches, because normally they're too big crowds. Or even if he's talking to one person, he's just saying things to that one person or to that church. But for him to like, basically be, it's like King Agrippa. Like he's taking a space in his hands, you know, and he's like, I have this to say to you, and that was really, really an interesting move to me. So his conversion, he gets to that part, and he's talking all about his conversion. And then, you know, his mission, his preaching. I mean, having heard his conversion story a couple of times at this point, right? I'm always interested to see what he includes and what he doesn't.

Seana Scott:

Right. And, and that kicking yourself, you're hurting yourself at kicking against the goats. I'm like, What the heck does that mean? So I did a little bit of tinkering to get the backstory of that and it was like a common phrase in secular and even in Jewish writings, it was like a colloquialism and proverbial phrase. And, and it was a picture of an ox or a beast that is carrying a burden and moving against a sharp stick that's supposed to be used to guide it. So it's like, like it's moving against the one thing that is supposed to be guiding it in the right direction, to do what it was created to do and purpose to do. And yet it constantly moves against it and hurts himself. And it's interesting that it was included in this passage, because like Paul has been doing Everything in anything to serve the one and only true God. You know, he has been zealous beyond zeal and to snuff out what he thinks is heresy. And yet he was kicking against the goats. Like, how many times do I kick against the goads? How many times am I thinking I am doing what God wants me to do? And then the Holy Spirit comes in and was like, am I wrong? You know, you were trying to serve me, but you weren't listening to my spirit. And I just really relate to this kicking against the goats because I am a headstrong person. And I have lots of ambitions and lots of ideas about how to serve God. And oftentimes, he just wants me at my kitchen sink, praying for people. And it doesn't feel very wonderful to be, you know, at my kitchen sink, scrubbing off macaroni and cheese off the plates. And but it's just so encouraging that Paul, the most revered, I think one of the most revered people in the Christian history, had the same personality, like, Let's go all the way for what I think is right.

Amanda Dzimianski:

And yeah, he was kicking against the goats.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, you do sort of get the sense that Paul is one of those people that like when he's in he is all in, you know, I mean, because he's even talking about the zeal with which he persecuted, he's like, No, I, I am all in here, and I will chase people, I will go to Syria, we will get them all like, let me ask them, I am in like, I will be your, your chief person on this. And he took the reins and he went, and then but and that's what's so interesting to me too, about sort of the gods analogy is that like, that's used to guide right. And so he was just sort of like taking that and putting it in the wrong direction. And he was just pushing to go the wrong way. And then Jesus literally appears him as like, and let's direct you here. And then he put that same energy toward reaching, you know, Jews and Gentiles and especially Gentiles after a while, but not, you know, forsaking, meeting with Jews. And so it's really interesting to see the energy that he puts through it. And that leads him all the way to a place like this, where we still see him directing that energy very intentionally. But doing that same thing.

Seana Scott:

I love how many times in the book of Acts, I don't have the passages right in front of me, but like, it's like, you know, the Holy Spirit did did this. And the Holy Spirit said no, and the Holy Spirit, and it's like, now the sharp stick that he's letting guide him is the Holy Spirit. Whereas before it was his Ellison's it was the law, it was a Pharisee stuff, it was works, really, you know, and how many of us try to follow works, you know, we can earn we can do we can show rather than the humility of nope, the Holy Spirit said, No. So Paul went a different way. Nope, the Holy Spirit said, say this, or don't say that, you know, it's just completely, literally a completely different person.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, that's one thing that we pick up a lot in, or ends up getting mentioned in a lot of the episodes is how Luke really, you get the sense that to Luke, and to Paul, by extension, because Luke is heavily influenced by Paul, that the Holy Spirit is a character in the book of acts like he shows up and he is usually the impetus he or she it, I'm still working on my pronoun usage and all that to be a little more neutral. But, you know, the Holy Spirit is the driving force, the starter of so many of the events, and even the Completer of so many events in the book of Acts, and it really becomes its own entity, and you really see it come to life in so many different ways. Yeah, and, Paul, I mean, you can read it throughout the rest of his letters. He's very into the Holy Spirit. Mm hmm. We're all about it. And, and so it's really interesting to to see how that has played out like in his life and how you can see that transition happen. Amanda, how about you in his speech? What did you see?

Amanda Dzimianski:

Well, if I get tack a little something on to that idea about the Holy Spirit, I noticed something a couple of years ago in Acts. I come from a kind of a tradition that really emphasized sort of trying to hear the voice is the spirit and and sort of using that as a means of direction. And I understand that. But I see an example from Paul, where he really did just have this burning fire in him. And he went with that. And if he was going to make a mistake, that's when he heard from the Holy Spirit. And he was attuned to that. So he did not spend a lot of time sitting around necessarily, that we have recorded in Acts where he was waiting for some kind of direction. He just moved. And if his direction needed to be shifted, then that seems to be when the Holy Spirit steps in at least that's how Luke seemed to convey it in Acts. And I, when I read that a couple years ago, and realized that that was a pattern that brought a lot of comfort to me, as someone who always doubted my ability, per se, to hear those directions. It was just kind of like, oh, well, I can just do my best. And if I'm gonna make a mistake, I can really trust the Holy Spirit to lean in and say, hey, hey, maybe a different direction. And that brought a lot of peace to me.

Seana Scott:

That's a really helpful and insightful thought. Thank you for sharing that.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, sure. Yeah, no, I, I like that. Because I do think sometimes we get caught up in the waiting game, instead of, you know, an active waiting that like, moves towards something. But you're right, a lot of times, you see that the, you know, the Holy Spirit, shut that down. So we went this way instead. And so you see that a lot in Paul.

Seana Scott:

But I think also the flip side can be and in my own personal experience, because I am very ambitious, especially when it comes to ministry. And and I will have passion for projects, and I will do it. And then life happens and doors close on something. And then I can wonder, because I'm not listening to the Spirit. And but then I look back on all the spirit in me and even through me, during doing that project, even though it didn't finish or even though it didn't launch or even though it didn't do what I wanted it to do that and I find comfort in Amanda's insight like, yes, let's move with our God given gifts and passions and visions, and be sensitive to the Spirit. I think that's a beautiful melody.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, nothing's wasted in it. Right. Like, I think that's important. And I mean, that happens a lot to me the things that I thought would build into something, or were going this way, you know, I look back now at, like, the graveyard of things. I mean, but they, but they do mean something or, you know, and, and they were goats for me, they ended up directing me. And how, however painful or hard or exciting they were. Um, yeah, it's so interesting. And so yeah, Paul talks about, you know, he's like, I wasn't disobedient to this vision. I, I ran with it, and, and then the Jews tried to kill me. So here we are. But I do like that. It is interesting to me. Because he doesn't do this all the time. Because a lot of times he's talking to Gentiles. So you don't always get him appealing, right directly to the prophets or to Moses. Like he'll bring some of that in, because people are he's, you know, around synagogues and stuff. So you'll see some of that terminology. But the fact that he boils it down and then even asks like King Agrippa, don't you believe in the prophets, like you should know this stuff. And that is so much more direct. And also, I mean, I do think Paul is obviously a very Jewish person, and he's very influenced by that. And you'll see that in some of the things that he talks about, but when he really ties it to Moses and the prophets here, it's almost sort of like a closer tie than I feel like we've seen in some of his other speeches.

Seana Scott:

And I thought it was interesting because like, you're right and then like, all of a sudden, Festus calls him crazy for all of his learning. And I'm like, wait a second, like he only said a few sentences like What do you mean killing and crazy volleys learning? And and I went through some commentaries and it said, like, you know, first we're gonna look at why was x written it was to give an account of the first things It wasn't to persuade Jewish readers to follow the Messiah. And so, the text you know, as Lucas having to synthesize telling this detailed account, he has to summarize. So we can infer from the from facts His reaction like all this learning that and and just the one sentence that says, you know, Moses and the prophets like this is who you know most of the prophets are talking about. And that that he had a much longer speech, probably we can infer the hidden much longer speech and went through those scriptures because it was very, as a trained Pharisee. He knew how to reason from the Scriptures. He knew how to pull the prophets, he knew how to talk about Moses. And so from the text, I think we can have first safely, that there was a lot bigger chunk that he talked about. So when Festus calls him crazy, he probably had heard a lot of Jewish stuff that went way over his head because he wasn't Jewish.

Kate Boyd:

I think too. So another thing that I read said that sometimes if someone was considered a philosopher or inspired, some would think that they were out of their minds, like that was just sort of my association. They're like, well, you have this like extra level of knowledge, or you're talking weird, and so you must be a crazy person. And so it wouldn't have necessarily been totally out of line. For someone to think that. Because it's sort of like they said that being sober minded was often contracted with being insane. So this was sort of like they're saying he's sort of on a little off his rocker because of the way that he's Yeah, because of all this. So it's, because it's a very, it's an, it ends with such an emotional climax, there's a lot of stuff happening, and it's so personal and so specific. And, and, to be fair, having read Paul's letters, he does get kind of ranty, right, like he's, you, you get the sense that He dictates so things are kind of out of order, and they're sort of all over the place. And he's, he's building up and he brings it back around. And so I can definitely, I can definitely see how that might be a challenge, as well.

Seana Scott:

But it is interesting how, um, you know, like, like, the book of Acts is the story at the beginning of the church, and yet that this last big thing is him witnessing and it's like, we are to be witnesses, we are to be servants. It's like, like you said, the Holy Spirit, and leads all that and he is doing all that. But this one speech was just as I was reading, it was just so powerful that like, you know, he is doing what he set out to do. He is serving and he is witnessing, and, and as climax of an encounter and in the book of Acts was ended the book.

Amanda Dzimianski:

Always just feel a little bit sad when I read verse 32. And Agrippa says, we could have let him go, Yeah, we had an appeal. Or it just always kind of stabs me a little bit in the heart. Although, you know, we know that Paul wants to go to Rome in some ways, and maybe this isn't how he wants to get there. But he knows he's going there. He is going there. But it's just I think it's fascinating that Luke kind of throws that in there. It's like we hate we didn't have to know that. But fly on the wall in this conversation somehow about what Festus and Agrippa and their council are are deliberating on. And they're like, we could have let him go if he hadn't appealed to Caesar. Hmm.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I mean, I think it sort of circles back to the whole. I mean, I feel like the conversation we had earlier about all these tensions that these leaders are trying to hold at the same time, and navigating all these landscapes and Festus didn't quite know what to do with it. And so he was just kind of like, gonna let it go. And Paul's like, well, I can't go to Jerusalem, because then I'll die. And so we're gonna, we're gonna throw it and then Agrippa was like, well, if you'd sent him to me, it would have been fine. But I don't know about all these other guys, you know. And so you do get the sense that now we all know, like, we know he's innocent, and again to another 23 and 24. We see a lot of like, it feels very parallel in a lot of ways to the trials of Jesus before the council, and then before Roman authorities, so we're sort of seeing that same sort of thing here like, Man, if only, you know, I could have let him go, but there's some things that are wing that are like, it's sort of too far gone for me now. I have to kind of hang out and so we sort of see that happen. Here too.

Seana Scott:

I was actually thinking a lot about Jesus's trials when I was reading through this But he too was, you know, innocent. Yeah, he was declaring the kingdom. And yeah, he too was accused of things he didn't do.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. And man, we close up. And then you guys the next few chapters Paul's in for an adventure

Seana Scott:

Christian is boring. I mean, like, Come on, man alive. I know sound boring.

Kate Boyd:

not boring at all. Okay, um, let's move on to our meat thoughts and our wheat thoughts to wrap up. Amanda, what do you what are you thinking?

Amanda Dzimianski:

Yeah, well, we've we've actually kind of skirted around this a couple of times already in the different conversations. But one of the things that really stood out to me is how very clearly a we're aware of who he was speaking to, Paul always seems to be. We have testimony in chapter 22, then we have, I think it's 24. And then 26. And he, he shares something, difference in the way he presents his story every single time, Shauna, you mentioned what he takes, or what he leaves in, and what he takes out, depending on the audience. And as a writer, someone who's often thinking about my audience, and what can what could potentially connect with them or serve them. Um, I just, I felt really grateful to kind of see that in Paul, because sometimes the idea of integrity and honesty can put this pressure on us to, like, say everything the exact same way every single time. And there's a lot more flexibility and freedom. With that, and, and Paul really seemed to have his finger on the pulse of what his audience needed to hear from him, depending on who they were, and depending on his own point in time where he was speaking to them from, you know, what needed to come out of this meeting with the Sanhedrin, what needed to come out of this meeting with King Agrippa. And I just really appreciated seeing that in Paul, his ability to sort of share his story knowing who's listening. And then as far as the second the we thought, I was really Roman law, when I looked into it was just really complicated and complex. And the Roman culture sometimes can be portrayed as just this bloodthirsty, cruel, barbaric culture. But at the same time, they really they had this process of law in place where they were at least trying to give innocent people a chance to, to share that fact that they were innocent. And I was just kind of grateful to see the threads of that. Because our, my own American culture tends to was the word that Roman law was some of the patterns that the justice system I'm familiar with, is based upon. And it has also many flaws, and Oh, so many problems. But at the same time, the ideal is still there of we want to give innocent people a chance to be heard. And, you know, based on what we see in Acts, these Roman and Jewish leaders spent a lot of time listening to Paul. And just the fact that someone's voice gets to be heard, I think, was really powerful and just made me grateful that that's at least a goal of culture, even if it's not often realized. Hmm.

Kate Boyd:

That's good. Shauna, how about you?

Seana Scott:

And it's hard to synthesize down one file it can be there's a lot, it's a lot but if I just take a step back and listen to our conversation, and in my setting, I, I really am encouraged by Paul's total absolute surety, of the person of Jesus Christ. And because of that, that absolute I know he is who he is, so I will follow him. In my own life. I have been in many seasons And in some ways I am now, in a season where things are not going the way I would expect, you know, Jesus, I followed you, I've said yes to you now, why aren't these things working out. And I think, especially in American culture, we can feel that. It's almost like that, and the gospel of you know, love Jesus, and everything will go smoothly. And that's not the gospel at all. And we can see that, like, you can see that all throughout Scripture. And so my takeaway from these two chapters and from our conversation, and today is just to really, once again be encouraged, I know who Jesus Christ is, I know who I serve. I know God has a plan. And so I'm gonna trust him. Even if it looks like I'm standing in front of a Sanhedrin of little people screaming mom at me all day, like, I am going to serve Jesus right here, or I'm going to serve Jesus talking to you ladies on a podcast, or I'm going to serve Jesus when I, when I type out the goodness of his word, and what he's doing in the world, or when I speak to my neighbor, or when I encourage a person in the hallway at church, or when I smile at the grocery attendant, like God is doing work in me and through me, because I really do believe that Jesus is who He says He is. And I really do believe that He rose from the dead. And I really do believe that he's coming again. And I'm sure of it. And so my encouragement for listeners, they know that's me, encouragement for listeners would be like, do you really know Jesus? Do you really believe he is who he says he is? And if you do, then power on and trust that all the things that don't look right, in your circumstances, he is going to use for the good for you, for others around you. But if you don't, if you're not sure about who this Jesus Christ is, then ask the questions and find out because this one question is way too serious of an answer, not to take the time to discover.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I mean, when you're clear on that, a lot of other things, you they prioritize themselves a lot more easily. And there's a certain amount of focus that you sort of get as you can, even when everything else is like super blurry.

Seana Scott:

And I forget, I forget, you know, like, oh, you know, so many times, I just let circumstances muddy my vision of Jesus Christ. And when it comes down to that, like, that's really all that matters. Yeah.

Kate Boyd:

Um, okay, so for my me thought, I think the first one is just sort of came up in our conversation, when we were talking about Amanda's point when she was talking about how, you know, he moved and then waited for the Holy Spirit to like, stop him. I think that is like, such a good paradigm. Um, yeah. And one that I can probably use because I'm an I'm an over thinker. And so I want to process it until Yeah, she's everyone's raising their hand. Like, I want to process it until I'm really for sure. And then I know, as soon as I start moving, everything's gonna change anyway. But it makes you feel better to have a plan. And sometimes that's just not in the cards. And so I really sort of like that encouragement that, like, unless the Holy Spirit tells you, no, you know, any mean? Like, you're probably going to be fine if you just keep moving for. And then I think the we thought, which is sort of like a, I don't know, it's sort of a weird lesson. I feel like because we didn't really talk about it. But I'm a weird lesson to pull from this. I appreciated the way that Festus consulted with a gripper like he tried to figure out what he was missing so that he didn't try to sort of stick it out alone, or he sort of knew that there wasn't something right. And so he brought somebody else in to run it by, and his suspicions were confirmed, but he also like was got the information he needed to like, be able to move it forward per Paul's requests. And so, um, I think that's sort of another theme that we see pop up in Acts a few times is how communities are used in order to make decisions that are really important, whether that's for the community or for the people, individuals within it. And so I think, even seeing that happen, not within the Christian community, but even seeing how that was sort of a value or a priority or something that maybe just accidentally took place in this one case, because everything was so new. I don't know. But I think that's something that again, if we go back to what I was just saying, like, I want to process it all and then I want to let everyone else in on my planet. because I've thought about it a long time. And instead, I could have something better if I brought people in earlier on, or even the people that it affects, right, or people who understand the context of what I'm trying to do, or the people that I'm trying to do it for, or whatever. And so I think there's such value in making that sort of process a communal thing instead of an individual one. And so I think that's really where my head went. After a bit, just thinking about how the whole process unfolded, and it wasn't just one guy making a decision. Um, and part of that was because that option wasn't really left for him, Paul sort of went above his head, but even then he's like, I need more information. So let's get it. Let's figure it out. And he did that with that buddy with other people. So that was helpful for me.

Seana Scott:

I think it's so easy in our, in our day and time, especially because we're more isolated, because the whole pandemic, and that nology like, it is so easy for us to just do our own thing and never get input. Yeah. And you're right. I think it's, it is unhealthy and unwise, and that's a really good we take away like, let other people in.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I mean, as a person who constantly isolates themselves, it's something I need to remind myself.

Seana Scott:

Oh, I'm with you, though. I'm with you. And he was hard. It's hard to not be isolated.

Amanda Dzimianski:

Yeah. It was he was wise to about who he went to. Yeah. The guy who knew what he was talking about, he didn't just say, Hey, Joe, in the corner.

Kate Boyd:

through it. Yeah.

Seana Scott:

He went to the one that had like the credentials to be able to help him

Kate Boyd:

write this specialized knowledge is what he means. And so yeah, that's good.

Amanda Dzimianski:

And probably somebody he was trying to build a relationship with anyway, because guys, you know, if they want to be in in tandem, if they can be, because that's just going to be for the better of their, their community as well as perhaps their political careers. So yeah. Maybe there was some some positive Alliance happening there, too. Yeah.

Kate Boyd:

I mean, I'm not saying it was all selfless. But

Seana Scott:

it was wise. It was,

Kate Boyd:

it was wise. We'll give him that. Thank you so much for joining us today. If you enjoyed this discussion, I would love it if you would rate and review the show on your favorite podcast player. You know the drill. This helps more people find the show and learn with us as we talk through Scripture. And then I would love if you came over on social media to talk about what your big takeaways were, what your me thought and we thought were from our discussion, or for when you dove into these chapters. You can find me on Instagram at Kate boyd.co and on Twitter at v Kate Boyd. And don't forget to check the show notes to find and follow today's contributors as well. Thank you for joining us.