God’s Word for You
Acts 25:22-27 you will stand before governors and kings
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, February 10, 2021
22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” Festus replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.” 23 The next day, with great pomp, Agrippa and Bernice came. They entered the audience hall with the commanding officers and the leading men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in.
Agrippa (that is King Herod Agrippa II) was at this time about 33. He was naturally curious about Paul and about the Christians and might have thought it was good luck that Paul, one of the great Christian leaders, was imprisoned right here in Caesarea. Luke recalls their pomp and ceremony as the great people entered the audience chamber of Festus (not the courtroom). In walked Agrippa, and in walked his sister Bernice the princess of the realm. Then came the Roman officers, including the commanders of Caesarea’s five regiments, and perhaps other tribunes and senior soldiers. The commanding officer from the fortress in Jerusalem would hardly have had time to arrive even if he had been summoned, but this didn’t seem to concern anyone. Finally, “the leading men of the city” arrived, Jews of Caesarea, businessmen, priests, and perhaps investors in the harbor trade. Finally, in chains and under guard, there came Paul.
24 Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all you who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish population has petitioned me about him both in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he must not live any longer. 25 I found he had done nothing worthy of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him, so I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after this investigation I might have something to write. 27 For it seems unreasonable to me to send off a prisoner without making the charges against him known.”
Festus had to write up a report, and he honestly didn’t know what to write. He couldn’t just send Paul with a soldier. He had to make some kind of written accusation. But Paul wasn’t guilty of anything. So Festus asked Herod to help him out. Herod Agrippa was familiar with the difference between Pharisees and Sadducees and the teaching of the resurrection and perhaps other elements of the Christian faith. In fact, Festus singles out Agrippa in particular by saying, “especially you, King Agrippa.” As the ranking member of the nobility, he hoped that Agrippa would have a special insight or at least a wise decision to offer. But Agrippa was no Solomon. He was interested in hearing Paul, not in condemning or acquitting him.
When the world doesn’t know what to make of Christianity, it looks for excuses. In our time, the world likes to point fingers and accuse Christians, especially Christian leaders, of hypocrisy. The world doesn’t really care about Christian doctrine except to use as leverage. We read about this scene in particular and expect Paul to say, “Do not condemn me, but tell me what charges you have against me” (Job 10:2). Instead, he will use this as one more opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. Paul was going to seize the moment to offer Christ, the King of the Jews, to the King of Judea. Jesus had said, “On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them” (Mark 13:9). If Paul could stand before a governor and a king and keep his nerve to preach Christ crucified, surely you and I can do the same with our children, our spouses, and with the people we love. May God bless you as you ask him for courage to speak up. As Peter and John prayed: “Lord, enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” (Acts 4:29). May he give you boldness when you need it, patience when it would be wise, and just the right moment to share or show your faith.
Pastor Timothy Smith