Listen:  101 Question 5

Before you look at that verse, I encourage you to read the fascinating account of the Apostle Paul in Acts 21-26.  He was accused of the Jewish people and was arrested in Caesarea to appear before Felix, the governor of Judaea.  The charge against Paul is found in Acts 24:5-6 which says, “For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: Who also hath gone about to profane the temple…”  Felix, desiring a bribe from Paul, left him in prison for two years.  After two years, Porcius Festus took over as governor.  Passing through Jerusalem, Ananias, the high priest spoke to Festus, asking him to send Paul to Jerusalem to be tried.  He had an ulterior motive as we read in Acts 25:3 which tells us the priest, “…desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.”  Festus refused to send Paul to Jerusalem, but called for him when he returned to Caesarea.  Festus asked Paul if he was willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried of the Jews.  As a Roman citizen, Paul, rather than go to Jerusalem, appealed to Caesar; meaning that he wanted to plead his case before Caesar.  Festus had no choice but to grant Paul’s request.

We then read in Acts 25:13, “And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.”  Festus told Agrippa about Paul, and Agrippa wanted to hear Paul plead his case.  In Acts, chapter 26, Paul speaks before Agrippa, sharing his life story and the story of his conversion to Christ, including the incredible account of the Lord’s appearance to him while on the way to Damascus to persecute the Christians there.  We have the conclusion of his speech and the reaction in Acts 26:19-24, “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. 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: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.”  After relating the story of his salvation, Festus declared that Paul was beside himself, or that he was crazy from learning so much about the Lord.

Now, let’s read 2 Corinthians 5:13 where Paul writes to the Corinthian believers, “For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.”  For better clarity, let’s read this verse from the NIV translation.  That says, “If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.”  Perhaps Paul was thinking of Festus’ remark to him when he wrote this to the Corinthians.  This same accusation was made against the Lord Jesus in Mark 3:21, “And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.”  Paul assures us that if his zeal, or his testimony, or his love for the lost be considered to be insane, then he would endure that for the Lord’s sake.  But to those who knew Paul to be in his right mind in his actions and teachings, he was doing that for the benefit of the believers.

Paul goes on to say that it was the Love of Christ that compelled, or guided him as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us…”  As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, may the love of Christ be the driving force in all our lives!  (101.5)