Acts 26:21-27
Acts 26:21 (KJB)
For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.
Paul then declares that it was because of the message of the promise of the fathers, especially concerning the resurrection is the reason that they wanted to kill him. They would not even wait for Paul to finish worshipping in the temple and grabbed him while he was still worshipping. Paulís words are attesting to the fact that he suffered a very violent arrest. Paul wanted them to know that the Jews were very disorderly and they were not giving him the fair trial they claimed they would.
Acts 26:22 (KJB)
Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
Paul then declares that it has been God that has helped and protected him during the times of these violent trials which he suffered in many cities. It is because of Godís protecting hand that Paul was able to continue preaching the Gospel, to both small and great crowds. Paul then states that he did not change the message he taught from that of the ancient prophets or Moses who had prophesied that the Messiah should come to Israel. Paul was proclaiming the same message but it was the message that Christ had come to earth already and is now back in Heaven building His church.
Acts 26:23 (KJB)
That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
Paul was proclaiming that the Lord Jesus Christ was the long awaited Messiah and although He was crucified and killed, He arose on the third day and that is what has gotten the Jews in a violent mindset, their unbelief. The Jews had no problem with the teaching that Christ had suffered because many of them were around when this happened. What they hated was the fact that Paul proclaimed His resurrection and the fact that He is alive now. (1 Cor 15:20 KJV) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. When Christ arose, that meant Godís approval of what He did on behalf of His Elect and now the true Gospel would be proclaimed to the Jews, represented by the term ďthe peopleĒ and then the Gentiles all over the world would hear the Gospel. The first that should rise meant the first to be raised to never die again.  The ministry to the Gentiles had already started as Paul began bringing it to different parts of the Roman Empire.
Acts 26:24 (KJB)
And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
Art beside thyself - Out of oneís mind or out of control
Mad - Insane
Festus probably was being convicted because of the powerful message that Paul was preaching. He accused Paul of being so learned that it had caused him to be insane and out of his mind. The Holy Spirit was working on Festus and that conviction had caused him to lash out. Just like the Jews, Festus was having a major problem with what Paul was teaching. Who knows, maybe we will see Festus in Heaven if he became saved later on in life. I heard the true Gospel for the first time when I was 12 and became saved at 27. All true believers have their day of visitation. The attitude of Festus here is one which is still going on today as people accuse us of being mad for believing in ďreligious superstition.Ē Festus was probably familiar with many of the philosophies of the day and many of them taught that the body was evil and one needed to have contempt for it. The idea that a person will be resurrected to live in the same body for eternity, would have been reprehensible to groups like the Gnostics who also held the body in contempt and this would have caused people to believe that Paul was crazy.
Acts 26:25 (KJB)
But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
Soberness - Sound mind
Paul had replied to Festus in a very courteous manner concerning the fact that he is not mad but he is speaking from the point of truth which permeates his mind making it a sound mind. We must remember that to the unregenerate, what Paul was saying sounds like something hatched in a mad manís mind. (1 Cor 1:18 KJV) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. Even the Scriptures teach that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to the unsaved because this can only be acceptable teaching when a person is saved and the Holy Spirit has regenerated their mind from carnal to spiritual.
Acts 26:26 (KJB)
For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
Corner - Figurative for unnoticed or concealed
Paul had now turned his attention to the King. He knew all about these things especially if he was a student of the Hebrew Scriptures. Paul was stating the same message that the prophets had spoken and Agrippa could acknowledge the historical aspects of Paulís message concerning Abraham and the other prophets which spoke the same message. The events which Paul had spoken of were done in public and were not concealed. If they were concealed, then maybe there could be cause for disbelief but the crucifixion of Christ was done on a hill in view of all Jerusalem along with the sun going dark for three hours. Paul was totally persuaded that since Agrippa was of the ruling class, he would have had inside knowledge of the events surrounding the ministry of Jesus including His death and resurrection. Even the Pharisees had to admit that the miracle ministry of Jesus was tremendous. Many of them were at the tomb of Lazarus when Jesus raised him so King Agrippa would not have been void of this information having been born in the house of Herod.
Acts 26:27 (KJB)
King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
Then Paul asks King Agrippa a very pointed question. Do you believe the prophets? Of course, he had to say yes because he knew that the prophets were as authoritative as any other part of the Hebrew Scriptures, including the first five books of Moses. However, King Agrippa was in a situation where if he agreed with Paul, then he would have to give approbation to Paulís message. Maybe he kept quiet at this point because Festus would then group Agrippa in with Paul as being mad. Paul knew that he believed them since he was a student of the Scriptures. No one who disbelieves the Scriptures is going to become an expert in them and study them for years.