This is the body of Paul’s defense before King Agrippa. He once again gives his testimony about how he persecuted the church and how Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Notice verse 14 has some new information from the conversation between Jesus and Saul. Jesus says “it hurts you to kick against the goads.” This expression does not appear in any of the other accounts of Paul’s conversation, either in Acts or in his letters. The reference is to the pointed sticks that were put behind plow animals to keep them from going backwards when plowing. It would be painful to fight against one’s harnessed purpose. Jesus is saying, and Paul certainly understands, that Paul has been set aside for a specific purpose and task – that of being the Apostle to the Gentiles – and he is only hurting himself in resisting.
When Paul gets to the climax of his message and speaks of the resurrection of Jesus. Festus (24) thinks Paul has gone crazy and when Paul appeals to Agrippa we get the great sermon finisher of all times. Agrippa says: “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?” and Paul responds “Whether or quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am – except for these chains (29).” Could there be a better witness or testimony than to be living the life Christ has called us to and invite others to follow our own example. 1 Corinthians 11:1 – “Be imitator’s of me as I imitate Christ” – would be a great example.