A Curiosity Piqued


As someone with an interest in politics, I’m always fascinated by the dramatic stories of what went on behind the scenes during times when leaders had to make important decisions. Whose counsel did they seek when weighing their positions? What factors played the most prominent roles in their choices? And at what cost did they proceed with their decisions? Today’s passage is a reminder that this sort of scenario has been playing out since ancient times. It also serves as an example, showing us that God is always at work, using every situation to further his kingdom.

  • Do you believe God uses whom he will, when he will, where he will, and for his purposes, always?


13 Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus. 14 And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man left prisoner by Felix, 15 and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews laid out their case against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him. 16 I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. 17 So when they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought. 18 When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed. 19 Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. 20 Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. 21 But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.” 22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” said he, “you will hear him.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. When Festus visited Jerusalem, what did the Jews ask for regarding Paul (vs. 15)? What was Festus’ answer (vs. 16)?
  2. When the Jewish leaders came to Caesarea to bring their charges against Paul, what did Festus discover (vss. 18-19)?
  3. Who was the person at the heart of the disagreement (vs. 19)? What did Paul say about him? Based on this verse, would you characterize the Jews’ disagreement with Paul as a religious or civil issue?
  4. Instead of ruling in favor of either Paul or the Jews, what did Festus do and why (vs. 20)? In turn, what appeal did Paul make and how did Agrippa respond (vs. 21)?
  5. Be encouraged today that in every situation and conversation, God is always at work! Consider again the question from Getting Started: Do you believe God can use anyone—however, wherever, and whenever he wills—for his purposes? Do you believe he can use you?


Festus, by his own admission, was at a loss. His decision regarding an accused man loomed large, and his ruling had the potential to upset a societal peace he was eager to maintain. Realizing he was out of his depth in investigating the religious matters brought before him, the perplexed governor sought advice from a trusted source. And just like any good political drama, this behind-the-scenes discourse served an important purpose. In seeking political advice, Festus made known a man proclaiming news of a resurrected Jesus, piquing the curiosity of a Roman king.

  • Pray that God would use you today to further the good news of Jesus.