You are out of your mind, Paul!’ he shouted. ‘Your great learning
Is driving you Insane.’ I am not insane, most excellent Festus,’ Paul replied. ‘What I saying is true and reasonable’ (Acts 26: 24, 25, NIV).
MANY EMINENT FIGURES, whether religious, political, or scientific, have been labeled as “madmen.” The great preacher and reformer John Wesley was branded ms such. William Carey, the founder of modern missions, was treated as a crazy man in the English Parliament. Bacon, who has been called the greatest genius in exact sciences, was also called “mad,» and the «wise men» of Salamanca considered Christopher Columbus insane because of his claims about the spherical shape of planet Earth.
However, thousands of years earlier, a passionate apostle of Jesus Christ who stood before Festus giving his testimony of faith and conversion, and telling how the encounter with God had changed him forever and how the Risen One had given meaning to his life, was also typecast as «mad.»
That is the way it is. Those who accept Christ experience a life change that cannot be explained in words. Thoughts, inclinations, tastes, their course in life… everything changes. And they are labeled as crazy,
Festus thought that all of Paul’s learning, or knowledge, had caused him to go out of his mind. The dictionary defines madness as «deprivation of judgment or use of reason.» Was Paul deprived of his judgment or the use of his reason, or misguided in the testimony about his life? No. Rather, his encounter with Jesus caused an impact strong enough to allow him to reflect his arguments with conviction and assurance.
All had heard the wonders Paul had experienced; that was his favorite subject. Thus, stating that he was delivering words of truth, he went further, and urged King Agrippa him self to believe and accept the message of the prophets. «Deeply affected, Agrippa for the moment lost sight or his surroundings and the dignity of his position. Conscious only of the truths which he had heard, seeing only the humble prisoner standing before him as God’s ambassador, he answered involuntarily, ‘Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian’ (v. 28)» (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 438).
It turns out that this «madman» was not only an earthly prisoner who presented his defense, but also a heavenly ambassador fulfilling his mission.
There is a reason why Paul himself would say to the Corinthians that the message of the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost, but for those who are saved it is God’s power (I Corinthians l: 18, GNT). Lord, give us more of these «madmen» like Paul!