"On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.
About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions.
We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice1 saying to me in Aramaic,a2'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'15
"Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' " 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied.
16'Now get up and stand on your feet.3 I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.417I will rescue you5 from your own people and from the Gentiles.6 I am sending you to them18to open their eyes7 and turn them from darkness to light,8 and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins9 and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'1019
"So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient11 to the vision from heaven.
First to those in Damascus,12 then to those in Jerusalem13 and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles14 also, I preached that they should repent15 and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.1621
That is why the Jews seized me17 in the temple courts and tried to kill me.1822
But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen19--
that the Christb would suffer20 and, as the first to rise from the dead,21 would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles."2224
At this point Festus interrupted Paul's defense. "You are out of your mind,23 Paul!" he shouted. "Your great learning24 is driving you insane."
"I am not insane, most excellent25 Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable.
The king is familiar with these things,26 and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.
King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do."
Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?"2729
Paul replied, "Short time or long--I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."2830
The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice29 and those sitting with them.
They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, "This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment."3032
Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free31 if he had not appealed to Caesar."32