Tuesday: Before Agrippa

Festus agreed to grant Paul’s request to be sent to Rome (Acts 25:12). Meanwhile, the governor took advantage of a state visit by Herod Agrippa II to consult him concerning Paul’s case, in particular regarding what kind of information he should send to the emperor in his official report. Festus was not yet acquainted enough with Jewish affairs, and Agrippa could certainly help him (Acts 26:2-3).

Before Agrippa

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Read Acts 25:13-22. What did Festus tell Agrippa about Paul, and how did the king respond?

Agrippa II, the last of the Herodians, came to Caesarea with his sister Bernice to salute the new governor.

In his description of Paul’s case, Festus revealed his surprise that the charges against him were not related to any capital offense, whether political or criminal. Instead, they had to do with matters concerning Jewish religion, in particular a certain Jesus, “who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive” (Acts 25:19, ESV). Paul had already stated before the Sanhedrin that he was on trial because of his belief in Jesus’ resurrection, and now Festus made it clear that this was indeed the real point at issue.

Read Acts 25:23-27. How does Luke describe the ceremony in which Paul appeared before Agrippa?

“And now Paul, still manacled, stood before the assembled company. What a contrast was here presented! Agrippa and Bernice possessed power and position, and because of this they were favored by the world. But they were destitute of the traits of character that God esteems. They were transgressors of His law, corrupt in heart and life. Their course of action was abhorred by heaven.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 434.

What should this story teach us about how outward appearances, which may be pleasing to human sight, can often be deceptive about the reality behind the appearance? What about ourselves, too? How different is the appearance from the reality?
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons