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Pray -

Read Acts 24:27

Acts 24:27 27 After two years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left Paul in prison.

  • Reminder who is this book being written by and to whom is it written?

  • Where is Paul physically during this part of the story?

  • What was Felix worried about again?

  • Why was it that Paul was unfairly imprisoned?

  • How do you feel when you are unfairly treated because of someone’s fear of doing the right thing in the face of opposition?

Read Acts 25:1-5 Three days after Festus arrived in Caesarea to take over his new responsibilities, he left for Jerusalem, 2where the leading priests and other Jewish leaders met with him and made their accusations against Paul. 3 They asked Festus as a favor to transfer Paul to Jerusalem (planning to ambush and kill him on the way). 4But Festus replied that Paul was at Caesarea and he himself would be returning there soon. 5So he said, “Those of you in authority can return with me. If Paul has done anything wrong, you can make your accusations.”

  • Who is influencing Festus at this point?

  • So the Council is once again reverting to their original plan to have Paul transported and to kill him en-route is this the first time this plot has happened against Paul? When was the time in happened prior?

  • Why is Paul being targeted?

  • Who are you following closely enough where others will idenitify you as following that person or movement?

Read Acts 25:6-8

6About eight or ten days later Festus returned to Caesarea, and on the following day he took his seat in court and ordered that Paul be brought in. 7When Paul arrived, the Jewish leaders from Jerusalem gathered around and made many serious accusations they couldn’t prove. 8Paul denied the charges. “I am not guilty of any crime against the Jewish laws or the Temple or the Roman government,” he said.

  • Have you ever experienced a time where you knew people were saying untrue things about you?

    • Maybe a boss?

    • Maybe people that you thought were friends?

    • Maybe even family?

  • How did you respond to those moments?

  • How should we respond when faced with a similar situation?

  • How long has Paul been the victim of false accusations now?

  • What does it mean in your life to “throw off/Shake off” those false accusations?

  • Is there anything now you could/should “shake off”?

Read Acts 25:9

9Then Festus, wanting to please the Jews, asked him, “Are you willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there?”

  • Why is Festus asking if Paul wants to be transferred to Jerusalem when he is right in the middle of a courtroom?

  • What’s different about Jerusalem?

  • The Bible has much to say about the responsibility of those in leadership to be just and to administer justice where are some areas in scripture where this is discussed?

  • We know that Festus was abdicating his role as a leader and judge, but there is also a bit of threat in what he’s telling Paul….Do you want me to send you back on the road to Jerusalem where those bandits will kill you? Have you ever abdicated your responsibility because of pressure or fear of being disliked?

  • How do we like it when this happens to us?

Read Acts 25:10-11

10But Paul replied, “No! This is the official Roman court, so I ought to be tried right here. You know very well I am not guilty of harming the Jews. 11If I have done something worthy of death, I don’t refuse to die. But if I am innocent, no one has a right to turn me over to these men to kill me. I appeal to Caesar!”

  • How and why is Paul able to appeal to the supreme court here?

  • Paul knows he’s not guilty. Felix knows Paul’s not guilty. Festus knows Paul’s not guilty. So Paul is basically saying, “If I'm guilty I'll pay the price. But if I’m innocent you don't have the right to punish me” Why does this argument not hold up? Do you think it would hold up today?

  • In this dialogue we can clearly see the contrast between Festus and Paul…Festus is so concerned about public opinion that he becomes cowardly and even fearful about making the decision that may not be popular. When has being popular put the pressure on you to not follow what God wants you to do?

  • Contrast Festus and Paul by their actions here.

  • How do you think on-lookers felt about Paul vs. Festus?

  • Have you ever stood up for what was right but unpopular and had someone come to you privately to thank you or agree?

Read Acts 25:12-21

12Festus conferred with his advisers and then replied, “Very well! You have appealed to Caesar, and to Caesar you will go!” 13A few days later King Agrippa arrived with his sister, Bernice, to pay their respects to Festus. 14During their stay of several days, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. “There is a prisoner here,” he told him, “whose case was left for me by Felix. 15 When I was in Jerusalem, the leading priests and Jewish elders pressed charges against him and asked me to condemn him. 16I pointed out to them that Roman law does not convict people without a trial. They must be given an opportunity to confront their accusers and defend themselves. 17“When his accusers came here for the trial, I didn’t delay. I called the case the very next day and ordered Paul brought in. 18 But the accusations made against him weren’t any of the crimes I expected. 19Instead, it was something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus, who Paul insists is alive. 20I was at a loss to know how to investigate these things, so I asked him whether he would be willing to stand trial on these charges in Jerusalem. 21But Paul appealed to have his case decided by the emperor. So I ordered that he be held in custody until I could arrange to send him to Caesar.”

  • Why doesn’t Festus argue with Paul’s appeal?

  • Who is Agrippa here and what is his linage?

  • Compare and contrast Felix and Festus.

  • What reason does Festus bottom-line for this mis-treatment of Paul?

Read Acts 25:22-27

22“I’d like to hear the man myself,” Agrippa said. And Festus replied, “You will—tomorrow!” 23So the next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived at the auditorium with great pomp, accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city. Festus ordered that Paul be brought in. 24Then Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are here, this is the man whose death is demanded by all the Jews, both here and in Jerusalem. 25But in my opinion he has done nothing deserving death. However, since he appealed his case to the emperor, I have decided to send him to Rome. 26“But what shall I write the emperor? For there is no clear charge against him. So I have brought him before all of you, and especially you, King Agrippa, so that after we examine him, I might have something to write. 27For it makes no sense to send a prisoner to the emperor without specifying the charges against him!”

  • Throughout this entire situation, Festus has shown a deficit of character—He doesn't have the guts to set Paul free—and now, he’s going to send Paul to Caesar but why?

  • Do you remember a time when you’ve been a hinderance to what God was doing?

  • Looking back how would you do things differently in a situation where you followed the opinions of man rather than God?

Think on This… What makes us so quick to follow the crowd? What steps can we take to prepare ourselves the next time we deal with this temptation?


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