and as he was saying these things in his defense, festus said with a loud voice, “paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” but paul said, “i am not out of my mind, most excellent festus, but i am speaking true and rational words. for the king knows about these things, and to him i speak boldly. for i am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. king agrippa, do you believe the prophets? i know that you believe.” [acts 26:24-27]


festus accuses paul of insanity, but paul does not take the insanity plea–at other times, he does emphasize that what he says can sound like madness:


but whatever anyone else dares to boast of—i am speaking as a fool—i also dare to boast of that. are they hebrews? so am i. are they israelites? so am i. are they offspring of abraham? so am i. are they servants of Christ? i am a better one—i am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. [2 corinthians 11:21b-23]


paul’s testimony of how he came to Christ seems mad–impossible, even. but that is the point: none would come to Christ had he not sought us and drawn us to himself: hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith:


he is the author/archēgos: chief leader, furnishing the first cause or occasion.


he is the perfecter/teleiōtēs: completer consummater, finisher.


he is the alpha and omega. 


in paul’s mind, this is not crazy–it has been prophesied, the old testament was a story that did not have an end, it was a movie that ended on a cliffhanger. that the messiah has come to fulfill the prophets, that he has been raised from the dead, a resurrection that defeats sin is a rational and logical conclusion to come to, because God’s messengers predicted that it would be so. this is why he appeals to the prophets when addressing agrippa.


even so, we will also be called crazy for our belief in a risen Savior. when we are, we need to remember why we carry on the message:


therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. but what we are is known to God, and i hope it is known also to your conscience. we are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. for if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. for the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. [2 corinthians 5:11-15]


the gospel will alienate those that are perishing. they will call us madmen, they will tell us we our out of our minds, we will be called intolerant and sometimes, unloving.  but the truth is that it is  Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit that brings us from death to life. speak truth to the perishing out of spending time in his presence today!


~ ce