Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.” (Acts 26:24-26)
What should we expect from the world? Do we ever think, if we just had an opportunity to teach everyone in the world that everyone would become Christians? Do we assume that if we try to teach someone the gospel and they are not converted that we have personally failed or were at fault in some way? This is especially painful in regard to family members. I am not minimizing the need to be prepared or effective in presentation. However, it is important to note what the Bible reveals about the effects of Paul’s preaching.
Who among us would claim superior knowledge and teaching ability to Paul? The passage above is Paul’s preaching at it’s best to Festus and King Agrippa. But not only did Paul not convert them, Festus said Paul was crazy, insane and very strange!
Jesus was killed by His own people. They thought He was strange. They didn’t believe who He was, what He said, or why He had come. Jesus told His disciples to expect the same treatment for themselves as He got, so... “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. ... Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:18-20)
Many people hear the gospel and they understand what the Bible says, yet they do not become Christians. Why not? For some it’s because they don’t want it. Peter said (1 Pet. 4:4) the world will think you’re “strange” when you don’t live in sin like they do. Today if you don’t drink because you’re a recovering alcoholic, the worldly say,
“Oh! Well, that’s cool.” If you don’t drink because you believe it’s wrong, then the worldly say, “You’re strange and nuts!”
People who reject Jesus sometimes think Christians are strange. Paul thought so too until he was converted! We can’t give up living or teaching the gospel just because people don’t agree with us! Remember, the Lord himself said of the way to eternal life, “few there be that find it.” (Mat. 7:14).
- Tim Orbison