One Christian leader boarded a train. As he was old, co-passengers were very co-operative and friendly. It was a first-class coach, during travel someone asked, where his destination was? He said: I am going to……… One person retorted: “Only fools go there or only Christians go there. Who are you?” He responded: “I am both.” Yes, the world understands the disciples as fools or mad people as Festus termed Paul. (I Corinthians Acts 26:24-26) In fact, Paul understood these two terms as a compliment for his commitment to the Lord. Festus brought Paul to King Agrippa as Felix had left him as prisoner. Festus could not understand the crime of Paul. Hence Agrippa agreed to hear Paul. Hearing the testimony, defence and dignified statement of Paul, Festus was annoyed. Festus shouted if Paul was mad because of his much learning? He thought he was mad because:
1) Happy: How can a prisoner be happy? Paul as a prisoner said he was happy. (Acts 26:2) Festus concluded only a mad man can be happy in prison. Paul knew to rejoice in the Lord always, inside or outside a prison. (Philippians 4:4)
2) Hope: Paul insisted that God could raise the dead. (Acts 26:8,23) Lord Jesus Christ is alive. Festus was puzzled about the hope of life after death and Paul’s confident assertion of that fact.
3) Heavenly vision: Paul talked about a heavenly vision that changed his life direction. When people cannot even believe about heaven, how there could be a heavenly vision. How can such vision change the life of someone? Festus was totally confused.
4) High Priority: Festus understood that Paul’s priority was preaching the gospel. He was not worried about him being a prisoner and did not plead for his release. (Acts 26:22)
5) Humanity as one: Festus observed that the Gospel message of hope is for Jews and Gentiles, i.e., for all humanity. (Acts 26:23) Roman Empire was struggling to keep all people from different nations together, how can the church be as one entity?
Does the world call me a fool for Christ?