Day 96 – Paul before Festus

Today’s reading: Acts 25

After Paul is held in prison for two years the Roman governor Felix is replaced by a new governor named Porcius Festus.  The Jewish authorities see it as an opportunity to break the stalemate and renew their charges against Paul.  Here again, we see the trial play out in a manner similar to how the trial of Jesus unfolded.  Festus can find no wrongdoing in Paul but we are told that Festus wanted to “do the Jews a favor” so he asked Paul if he wanted to be returned to Jerusalem to stand trial with his people.

Paul, wise to what is unfolding, rejects the proposal and instead invokes his Roman right to appeal to Caesar.  This is a good example of Paul fulfilling Jesus teaching to be, “as wise as serpents…” (Matthew 10:16).  Paul knows he can’t get a fair trial in Jerusalem and now he sees that Festus will not go out on a limb for him either so he invokes his right to go to Rome.  Paul is using the legal system, the legitimate tools he has at his disposal, to keep preaching the gospel.  We too are confronted with the same choice in the modern age.  Recently, government mandates have intruded on religious liberty and it is within the purview of Christians to use the legal system to defend their interests.

Tomorrow: Acts 26

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