28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
29 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.”
30 When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them; 31 and when they had gone aside, they talked among themselves, saying, “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains.”
32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
Some things are just too crazy/maddening for me. This scene is one of them.
When Jesus was on trial before Pilate and Pilate asked Him a question Jesus didn't respond. To His silence Pilate retorted "Don't you know I have the power to crucify you and the power to release you?"
These men to whom Paul is speaking have the same power. They can release him or continue to hold him or send him to Caesar or just have him killed. Festus has and ready admitted from the beginning of this encounter with Paul that he hasn't even written to Caesar and ready out the whole thing. If they chose to let him go they could. Instead they huddle together and then Agrippa says "Too bad he appealed to Caesar because clearly he is innocent and we could have just released him."
This is an even deeper level of delusion. In dealing with people over many years I can assure you we are quite capable of deluding not only others but ourselves. Agrippa knows Paul is innocent. He knows Jesus was innocent. He knows the Jewish leaders are as corrupt as a three dollar bill. He knows and he is in the very position where he can do something about it but he is a coward. He is a self-preservationist just like Pilate was, and Felix, and Festus. Men who are in positions to do something about corruption and injustice but fool themselves into thinking there is nothing they can do and pass the buck on to someone else, all the while profiting from the system of lies.
Paul boldly states that Agrippa believes. How he knew we are not told. Perhaps it was obvious from the look on his face. Perhaps his body language gave it away. Perhaps God revealed it to him.
All my life I have been told believing is everything. I have even said it myself. However it is not this kind of believing. Even the devil believes but he trembles. Why? Because knowing has not moved him to change. He knows Jesus is the King of kings and that his form of government based on selfless love is the only legitimate way to run the universe. He knows but refuses to change. Agrippa is just like him...
To believe without taking action is worse than not believing at all... :(