"What School You Grad?" (Acts 21:39)

“What school you grad?”


Anyone from Hawaii is familiar with this question, uttered with a pidgin english accent when strangers from Hawaii meet. While it may seem pretentious and a bit obnoxious, it is an accepted manner of establishing a connection with a fellow islander. Hawaii is a diverse melting pot of cultures and the local high schools serve as a convenient reference point to connect with one another. Through the high schools, strangers avail of a conduit to connect through friends and relatives who may have attended the same school. It is a mini-vetting process and establishes the credibility of each person.


Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.”

Acts 21:39 (ESV)


In this passage, the Apostle Paul attempted to connect with his fellow Jews after he was arrested by the Roman authorities. He first did so by identifying his birthplace, establishing an important link that he had with his fellow Jews. Anyone of that day could have immediately confirmed the veracity of his words.


If I had been in a similar situation, arrested and bound, I would have been absolutely terrified. I would been more concerned with establishing my credentials and identity to save my own skin. Not the Apostle Paul!  Paul never wasted a moment and used this opportunity when he was arrested to share the Good News of Jesus Christ-to the angry crowd, to his fellow Jews, and to the Roman soldiers.


I have connected with many islanders using this well-worn phrase. But my motives are not always pure and focused as the Apostle Paul.  Establishing credibility and trust when meeting someone new is important, but to what end? My motive, my every thought, should be to establish God’s Kingdom on this earth. And I do this by proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.


“What school you grad?


I may connect with my fellow islanders but it should be so that God may connect with them.


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.