So 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. Then 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. But 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."
— Acts 25:23-25 NLT
Paul's appearance before Festus in the auditorium was quite a "happening"! Pomp and position were on full display. Religious, political, governmental, and military prominence were honored. Festus made clear to all who came that their role was to be honored, entertained, and informed. He had already decided that Paul was not deserving of death. He was determined to honor Paul's appeal to be sent to Rome. However, we see Festus' handling of this situation as an example of why he was so highly regarded as a politician and leader. His death, which occurred two years after this event, was considered a tragedy and left a vacuum of honorable rulership, so the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem used that vacuum to persecute Christians.
The recognition that Festus gave to people in positions of prominence is directly opposite to the guidance that Jesus gave us when he said, "The greatest among you must be a servant" (Matthew 23:11).
Dear Father, we live in a time of political division and upheaval all over the world. Your children need good, wise, and humble political leaders who will do what is right and just. We pray that leaders will be open to your truth. We ask that you remove any leaders who are unjust or immoral. We ask for your help so we will know the best ways to stand for the truth, defend the vulnerable, and care for the broken in our world. We pray for conditions where sharing the Good News of Jesus is not opposed. When your truth is opposed, we pray that we can live in winsome ways without compromise to win the hearts of those truly seeking truth and Jesus. We pray in his name. Amen.