|Volume 23 Number 12 December 2021
Gary C. Hampton
Paul’s defense before Festus and Herod Agrippa II was interrupted. Luke reports, “Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!’” (Acts 26:24 NKJV). The challenge was brought on by the message Paul preached.
The apostle to the Gentiles was considered mad because of the hope of the promise. “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers” (Acts 26:6). The promise was repeated to Abraham when he submitted to God’s will, even preparing to sacrifice his only son. God declared, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:18). Paul told the churches of Galatia the promise was specifically regarding the Christ (Galatians 3:16).
Paul was considered mad because he said the hope ultimately was in the resurrection of the dead (Acts 26:7-8). He reminded the saints at Corinth that resurrection took place in fields around the globe. He explained that each created thing had a body suited to its existence. The body inhabited by humans is natural and the resurrection body will be spiritual. Those living on earth have a body similar to Adam, while those in Heaven will have a body like Christ’s (1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-44, 48-49).
Jesus assigned the preaching of hope to Paul, especially among the Gentiles. He began the work in Damascus immediately after his own conversion. He told the assembled dignitaries that the Jews seized him because he proclaimed Jesus as the first to rise from the dead (Acts 26:16-23).
“Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’ And Paul said, ‘I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.’” God, like Paul, wants all believers to join in the so-called madness!
Important Days in Scripture
Every day that God allows us to enjoy on earth should ignite gratitude in our hearts (Psalm 118:24). However, there are some days that are highlighted as more significant than others. Certain days contain events that set them apart as special and unique (Luke 5:26). Here are a few days in Scripture that are important.
The Days of Creation (Genesis 1:1-31)
The days of creation are special because they are the days that begin all days. Without the six days of creation, there would be no other days to acknowledge. As God created everything and declared it very good, we see God manifested His power (Nehemiah 9:6). God’s work during the days of the creation week differentiates Him from the false idols in the ancient near eastern world (1 Chronicles 16:26). The days of creation are extraordinary because, in six days, God created this beautiful world with precision and design that we have come to know and love (Psalm 33:6; 33:9). While some want to credit matter with the world’s existence, Scripture tells us that in the first six days, God spoke everything into existence (Exodus 20:11; John 1:1-3).
The First Day of the Week
Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2)
The Sabbath Day was a day of holiness and prominence in the Old Testament, but there is a decisive shift concerning the Sabbath in the New Testament (Deuteronomy 5:12). The first day of the week is the day Jesus rose from the dead (Matthew 28:1-8). After Jesus’ resurrection, the first day of the week became known as the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10). The church came into existence on the first day of the week; Pentecost always fell on the first day of the week (Leviticus 23:15-21; Acts 2:1-47). The church gathers to worship on the first day of the week, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, praying, sacrificially giving to the Lord’s cause, exhorting each other in songs and preaching (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Ephesians 5:19). The first day of the week is unlike any other because the tomb was empty on the first day of the week, and God’s people collectively honor Him on that day as well.
The Judgment Day
(Matthew 24:36; John 5:28-29)
The Judgment Day is special because it is the day we will be judged by God and ushered into eternity, either into Heaven or into Hell. Jesus promised that the time would come when all will hear His voice and come forth to be judged and to go to eternal joy or to eternal torment (John 5:22, 28-29). No one knows when the Judgment Day will take place, but we can be sure it will come because God has assured us of it (Matthew 24:36). Our focus should not be on the time of Jesus’ return but on what our spiritual condition will be when He arrives (2 Peter 3:10-14). The Day of Judgment will be the most important day of our lives. We should spend the remainder of our days preparing for it by trusting in Jesus and walking faithfully in His footsteps.