Taking a chance?

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, thank You for walking with me. Help me to seek You and to go where You lead.

 

Read: ACTS 25:1-12

[1] Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, [2] where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. [3] They requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. [4]Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. [5] Let some of your leaders come with me, and if the man has done anything wrong, they can press charges against him there.” [6] After spending eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. [7] When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them. [8] Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.” [9]Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?” [10] Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. [11] If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!” [12] After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” 

 

Reflect: WHY DO YOU BELIEVE PAUL ACTED AS HE DID?

It’s been two years since Paul’s trial before Felix, and the Jewish leaders present their case against Paul again, presumably hoping that a new governor will respond to their requests in a different way. If he had done so, then the plot that was afoot to kill Paul may have succeeded (3), but Festus suggests an alternative venue for Paul’s new trial (4,5). Even though for a second time nothing can be proven against Paul, Festus offers him a trial in Jerusalem; but Paul, continuing to declare his innocence, appeals as a Roman citizen to Caesar. Why? If Paul was innocent, why the appeal to Caesar? Maybe, with his own background in the law, and his citizenship in mind, and knowing himself to be innocent, it seemed the logical thing to do. Or perhaps the reason for this is found in Acts 23:11. After a previous trial before the Sanhedrin, the Lord spoke to Paul about testifying in Rome. Maybe Paul had that in mind, and saw an opportunity to bring about what he believed God wanted him to do. Either way, he’s now heading–eventually–for Rome

 

APPLY

Trust God with any difficult circumstances you know of and ask him to be at work in them.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Jesus, I know that if I commit myself to Your ways, You will bring good, even when others work against me.

 

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