The Roman authorities had a problem. The apostle Paul had upset the Jewish leaders to the point that they wanted him executed. But he was a Roman citizen and entitled to a fair hearing, if necessary, before Caesar himself. The problem, as we learned in the previous chapter, was that they hadn’t a clue what Paul had been accused of. So Acts chapter 26 begins with Herod, the Jewish king Agrippa, asking Paul to speak for himself.
We see Paul well able to speak to the king, complimenting Agrippa on his knowledge of Jewish customs in Acts 26:3-6. Paul gave Agrippa his credentials, then he explained how he’d originally persecuted the followers of Jesus until Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. We’ve already read the account of Paul’s conversion in Acts chapter 9 when he was known as Saul.
So in verses Acts 26:19-23 we read that Paul justified his actions because of the heavenly vision. His mission was to witness to anyone who would listen, that the prophesies in the Old Testament had been fulfilled. The Jews wanted to kill him in Jerusalem because they didn’t believe Jesus to be the Messiah. Festus couldn’t contain himself and in Acts 26:24 accused Paul of madness. Paul appealed to Agrippa, suggesting that the king would know that Paul was genuine. Acts 26:27-28 show the power of Paul’s argument. The last verse of the chapter shows that Agrippa and Festus couldn’t understand why Paul had appealed to Caesar, it was God’s will that he would go to Rome.