“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Psa. 139:23).
Read Acts 25:23—26:1a
Paul Before Agrippa
23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high-ranking military officers and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 I found he had done nothing deserving 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 His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write. 27 For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.”
26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense:
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectAre you facing a difficult decision?
Writers sometimes struggle to find something to write. It’s the infamous writer’s block and Festus seemed to have it. He didn’t believe that Paul was guilty of anything serious (25) and could have let him go. But Paul had appealed to be tried by the emperor—Nero! So although Festus had to write to the emperor about it, he really didn’t know what to say (26). Whatever his other failings, Festus was wise enough to admit that he didn’t know and to ask for advice. This may not seem very profound but it’s a good example to follow.
Agrippa wasn’t a bad choice of advisor. He certainly knew more about Judaism than Festus. The previous emperor had given him responsibility for the Temple in Jerusalem and the appointment of the High Priest, and he was keen to meet Paul (25:22).
Sadly, Festus’s humility in recognizing his weakness (26) wasn’t matched by his courage. They often need to go together. He knew that there was no evidence that would justify a death sentence for Paul (25). Although he should have released him, the voices calling for his death were just too loud (24). But unknown to them all, another hand was at work (23:11).
Are there any areas of your life where you should recognize that you don’t really know what to do? Ask God to help you find someone who can give you good advice.
Lord, I choose to seek Your direction in my life, in the big things and the little things.
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