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 25.13-22.
Agrippa arrives in Caesarea to greet Festus, that is, probably to welcome him to his post and make sure he understood who was boss. Festus did, and in reporting on the state of things in his jurisdiction, the situation involving Paul came up as a matter of course.
1. Festus was completely baffled by this situation and not sure how to proceed (v. 20). He appears not to have the same kind of familiarity with Christianity as Felix did (v. 19; cf. 24.22). Agrippa, we shall see, is rather more in touch with these matters, and even interested in them. Do you think people today are still interested in spiritual matters? Why or why not?
2. Besides, when Paul arrives in Rome, the Emperor will want to make sure that all recourse had been exhausted at the local level before they sent the accused off to Rome. So Agrippa decided to hear Paul’s case for himself. On the very next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived with much pomp to hear Paul’s case. There is a difference here, however: This time Paul’s accusers are not present. Had they just given up? Or starved? How can you see the Lord's sovereignty at work in this long-delayed trial?
3. Is there something to be said for persevering in our witness, even when people act like they don’t want to hear it? Should we decide, or let them decide, when enough witnessing is enough?
4. Festus summarized their case against him, then turned the matter over to Agrippa, who advised him what to write to Rome in sending Paul on to the Emperor (vv. 23-27). Does it seem to you that Festus got the message right, as far as he got it? How should this encourage us in witnessing to non-believers?
5. Festus and Agrippa were powerful men. Unlike two Herods, however (Matt. 2; Acts 12), they understood the importance of law. While they might have resorted to quick violence to bring this situation to a conclusion – “Hang the lot!” – they respected the law and decided to let the case run its course. Government works for good when it restrains evil, as Paul had previously explained to the church in Rome, where he would shortly arrive (Rom. 13.1-5). Take a moment to thank God for the many ways His common grace is at work – in government, education, business and professional life, and much more – to make room for the Gospel in our day.
The story is really slowing down, but the original story line continues. Luke is communicating the message of the ongoing work of Christ in more ways than just preaching the Gospel, starting churches, and making disciples. In what other ways is he showing us that Christ is sovereign, is overthrowing the works of the devil, and works all things according to His time, in His way, and for the good of those who love Him?
The LORD has been mindful of us;
He will bless us;
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron.
He will bless those who fear the LORD,
Both small and great.
May the LORD give you increase more and more,
You and your children.
May you be blessed by the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s;
But the earth He has given to the children of men.
The dead do not praise the LORD,
Nor any who go down into silence.
But we will bless the LORD
From this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the LORD!
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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