January 23rd, 2007
It’s a question that you’re sure to have considered if you’ve studied for a lot of exams in your time: Can too much studying actually drive you crazy? Perhaps you’ve heard about the university student in China who studied himself to death, and you’re worried the same might happen to you. It certainly gets quite intense when the hour of examination is approaching and the textbook lies open in front of you, but the contents of the textbook remain uncomprehended and undigested by your brain. It stresses you out, it can drive you to depression. But can it actually drive you crazy?
The Acts of the Apostles — Chapter 26
26:1 Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak for yourself.” Then Paul gestured with his hand and started to explain his case. 26:2 “I am pleased, King Agrippa, to be presenting before you today my response to all the allegations made against me by the Jews, 26:3 particularly because you are an expert in Jewish customs and issues. I would be grateful if you would hear me out.
26:4 “The story of my life since childhood, beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem, is known to all the Jews. 26:5 They have known me from the start, and they can say, if they will admit it, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion. 26:6 Now I stand here on trial over the hope of the promise made by God to our ancestors, 26:7 the promise which our twelve tribes, earnestly worshipping day and night, hope to see fulfilled. I am being prosecuted by the Jews over this hope, King Agrippa! 26:8 Why should you find it incredible for God to raise the dead?
26:9 “I used to think that I should do as much as I could to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth, 26:10 which is what I did in Jerusalem. By the order of the senior priests, I shut up numerous believers in prisons, and when they were being killed I cast my vote against them. 26:11 In all the synagogues I punished them and forced them to blaspheme. In my violent anger against them, I even persecuted them in foreign cities.
26:12 “For this purpose, I was travelling to Damascus with the authority and power of the senior priests, 26:13 your majesty, when at about noon I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who travelled with me. 26:14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts you if you kick against the spurs.’ 26:15 I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 26:16 But stand up, because the reason I have appeared to you is to appoint you as a servant and a witness of the things which you have seen, and of the things which I will reveal to you. 26:17 I will protect you from your own people and from the Gentiles to whom I am sending you 26:18 to open their eyes, so they can turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place amongst those people who are made holy by faith in me.’
26:19 “King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. 26:20 I spoke first to the people in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the country of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, telling them to repent and turn to God, and to do things to show that they had repented. 26:21 This is why the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 26:22 God has helped me, and I stand here today to tell everyone, whether important or unimportant. What I say is nothing other than what the prophets and Moses predicted, 26:23 about how the Christ would suffer, and how, by first rising from the dead, he would announce light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
26:24 As he was explaining his case, Festus exclaimed, “Paul, you are crazy! Too much studying is driving you insane!” 26:25 But Paul said, “I am not crazy, most excellent Festus. I boldly say what is true and reasonable. 26:26 The king knows of these things, and I am addressing him frankly. I am convinced that he knows about these things, because they were not done in a corner. 26:27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 26:28 Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you trying to make me a Christian so quickly?” 26:29 Paul said, “I pray to God that whether quickly or slowly, not only you, but also everyone hearing me today, might become what I am, except for these chains.”
26:30 The king got up, as did the governor, Bernice, and the people who were sitting with them. 26:31 When they had left, they said to each other, “This man isn’t doing anything to deserve death or prison.” 26:32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
Entry Filed under: Perseverance