And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
The video for lesson 21 is the same as for lesson 17. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 17).
Read and meditate on Acts 25.1-12.
Do you suppose those who had plotted against Paul had fudged on their oath? At any rate, no sooner does Festus take up his duties than the Jewish leaders bring up the case of Paul. Talk about holding a grudge and allowing hate to fester in their hearts! (Lev. 19:17, 18)
1. Festus must have thought, “Great. I can’t even get organized and I have to deal with this situation.” His role was to keep peace, and Felix handed him this firestorm, just waiting to break out. So Festus wisely decided to keep the trial on less flammable turf. The Jews can come to Caesarea if they’re that serious about all this. And they do. Should we expect those who hate the Gospel ever to cease from their anger? Explain.
2. Their argument hasn’t changed – they still can’t prove their lies and slanderous accusations (v. 7). Festus was clever. He made push come to shove by testing Paul’s confidence in his case. Was he so sure of his innocence that he’d be willing to return to the scene of the alleged crime and argue his side there? (v. 9) Are there limits to how far we can go in accommodating the demands of unbelievers, when it comes to the Gospel and our testimony?
3. Paul was more clever, and once again he played his Roman citizenship trump card, demanding his citizen’s right to have his case heard in Rome by the Emperor. Festus must have lit up with joy to hear this. Perhaps he was even hoping Paul would relieve him of this onerous case by insisting on going to Rome. We can almost hear his “Whew!” as he agrees to ship the Apostle off to the Emperor (v. 12). How would you assess Paul’s witness during his time in Caesarea? What lessons can you learn from him to enhance your own witness for the Lord?
4. Jesus had promised Paul he would get to Rome to preach there. But it was taking what must have seemed like an inordinate amount of time. The unfolding of the Lord’s will might tarry sometimes, but our duty is to understand His promises, wait on His timing, and act in each situation as seems appropriate, according to the will of God. That’s what Paul did, and it launched the final leg of his mission to Rome. What does it mean for you to wait on the Lord for your witness with the unbelievers in your life?
5. Review what we’ve seen of Paul’s defense over the last two chapters (Acts 24, 25.1-2). Outline the Gospel as Paul seems to have presented it. What are the main points? In what order should they appear? How can you fit your own testimony in to this?
Paul knew that Jesus was sending him to Rome, so he couldn’t risk a retrograde movement in his progress. He understood his rights as a Roman citizen, so he simply invoked them at just the right moment to ensure he would not be shipped back to Jerusalem, and those forty or so hungry would-be assassins. Would you say Paul was being wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove in this situation? Explain.
LORD, I cry out to You;
Make haste to me!
Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.
Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice wicked works
With men who work iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.
Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it.
For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.
Their judges are overthrown by the sides of the cliff,
And they hear my words, for they are sweet.
Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave,
As when one plows and breaks up the earth.
But my eyes are upon You, O GOD the Lord;
In You I take refuge;
Do not leave my soul destitute.
Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
And from the traps of the workers of iniquity.
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I escape safely.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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