Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense."
Thoughts for Today:The King James translation says, "Then Paul stretched forth the hand..." Doesn't that give you a mental image from our movies of the time, depicting Roman soldiers who would stretch out their hand in salute of Caesar or some other dignitary? We don't know for sure if that was the kind of motion meant in this passage, but if so, was Paul actually honoring Agrippa?
As we have learned from previous devotions, Agrippa did very little to command personal respect versus contempt. So what was Paul doing -- honoring the man or the position? In my opinion: neither. Paul wrote in Colossians 1:16, "For by Him [speaking of Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him." Paul made it pretty clear why he stretched forth his hand in respect: he was honoring God, and accordingly the position and authority which God had granted to the man Agrippa.
I think this is a pretty good lesson for all of us to hear, especially the youth of today. I know in our free will, me first, personal rights society this is a revolutionary concept. But it is Biblical nonetheless: when we honor authority we honor God. Romans 13: 1-2, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."
Questions to Ponder:The Bible calls us to be ministers of reconciliation not ministers of hostile confrontation or rebellion. What has your approach been lately to those in power with whom you disagree? Have your actions brought honor to God?