23 “So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But I found that he had done nothing deserving death. And as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to go ahead and send him. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. 27 For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.” (Acts 25:23–27 (ESV)
One of my all-time favorite movies is The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (1938). At the climax of the film, there is a scene in the great hall of Prince John. There is a tremendous amount of pomp and circumstance as he is about to be crowned King of England, until the ceremony is thwarted by Robin Hood and England’s true king: Richard I, the Lionheart.
Luke’s description of Paul’s audience with King Agrippa II is somewhat parallel because of the great pomp with which Agrippa and Bernice entered the audience hall. They were accompanied by military tribunes along with prominent men of the city of Caesarea.
In contrast to the majesty of the earthly king, is the Apostle Paul. He is a prisoner who is brought in at the command of Governor Festus. One can imagine Paul is dressed in tattered clothes from having been in prison for over two years (Acts 24:27). However, he represents the King of kings and the Lord of lords (I Timothy 6:15), who is sovereign over all.
Festus’ reasoning in presenting Paul before King Agrippa II was so that he might conclude some reason, or charge, against Paul in sending him to Rome, per Paul’s appeal to have his case heard by the Emperor Nero. While not a formal trial, it was an examination (Acts 25:26).
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “To refer a Roman citizen’s case to the emperor rather than resolving it locally, entails some political jeopardy for a provincial governor. This is particularly true if he cannot articulate the crimes against the empire that warrant further legal process rather than the prisoner’s exoneration and release.”
That web of the Jews’ deception against the Apostle Paul has entangled Governor Festus. Festus hopes that King Agrippa will help to untie him from this political predicament involving Paul. The audience with Agrippa will provide Paul with one of his most personal and public testimonies of his faith in Jesus Christ.
Soli deo Gloria!