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Commentary On Acts Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Acts 25:22-27

22. And Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also myself hear the man. Tomorrow, saith he, thou shalt hear him.23. And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the common hall with the chief captains, and the principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought.24. And Festus saith, King Agrippa, and all men which are present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews hath called upon me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.25. Yet have I found that he hath committed nothing worthy of death, and because he hath appealed unto Augustus, I have determined to send him.26. Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth unto you, and chiefly unto thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I may have somewhat to write.27. For it seemeth to me an unmeet thing to send a prisoner, and not to show the crimes whereof he is accused.

22. I would also. By this we may gather that Agrippa did so desire to hear Paul, that he was ashamed to make his desire known, lest Festus should think that he came for some other end than to salute him. And it may be that not only curiosity did move him to be desirous to hear Paul, but because he did hope to profit by hearing him. Notwithstanding, we may easily gather by this how cold his desire was, because he suffered many days to pass before he showeth any sign of his desire, because he was more in love with earthly commodities, which he counted better. Neither durst he make any words; neither did he pass for uttering any speech until such time as Festus did of his own accord will him so to do. So that the holy minister of Christ is brought forth as on a stage, that a profane man may cheer up his guest, save only that Festus will be holpen with the advice of Agrippa and his company, that he may let Caesar understand how diligent he is. But the matter was turned to another end by the secret providence of God. Neither need we doubt but that such report went abroad as made much for the confirmation of the godly; and it may be also that some of the hearers were touched, and did conceive seed of faith, which did afterward bring forth fruit in due time. But admit none of them did embrace Christ sincerely and from his heart, this was no small profit, that the unskillful were appeased after that the malice of the enemies was discovered, that they might not be inflamed with such hatred against the gospel. Impiety was made ashamed, and the faithful did gather new strength, so that they were confirmed more and more in the gospel.

23. And on the morrow. Agrippa and his sister do not come like humble disciples of Christ, but they bring with them such pomp and gorgeousness as may stop their ears and blind their eyes; and it is to be thought that like haughtiness of mind was joined with that gorgeous and great pomp. No marvel, therefore, if they were not brought to obey Christ. Notwithstanding, it seemeth that Luke maketh mention of the pomp, that we might know that, in a great assembly, and before choice witnesses, whose authority was great, Paul had leave granted not only to plead his matter as a party defendant, but also to preach the gospel. For he cometh forth as in the person of a teacher, that he may set forth the name of Christ. So that the truth of God brake out of his bands, which was forthwith spread abroad everywhere with a free course; yea, it came even unto us. By this word phantasia, Luke understandeth that which we call commonly preparation or pomp. But there must other furniture be brought unto the spiritual marriage of Jesus Christ.

26. That after examination had. We cannot tell whether the governor, in acquitting Paul before them, doth seek by this policy to entice him to let his appeal fall. For it was a thing credible that he might easily be persuaded to lay away fear, and to submit himself to the judgment and discretion of a just judge, especially if Agrippa should give his friendly consent. To what end soever he did it, he condemneth himself of iniquity by his own mouth, in that he did not let a guiltless man go free whom he is now ashamed to send unto Caesar, having nothing to lay against him. This did also come to pass by the wonderful providence of God, that the Jews themselves should give a former judgment on Paul's side. Peradventure, the governor goeth subtilely to work, that he may pick out what the king and the chief men of Cesarea do think, that if it so fall out that Paul be set at liberty, he may lay the blame on their necks. For he would not have the priests to be his enemies for nothing, upon whom a good part of Jerusalem did depend, and that was the best way that he could take in writing to Caesar to intermingle the authority of Agrippa. But the Lord (to whom it belongeth to govern events contrary to man's expectation) had respect unto another thing, to wit, that when the clouds of false accusations were driven away, Paul might more freely avouch sound doctrine.

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