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The Trial Before Festus December 13, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Acts 25:1-12.

Summary: In this passage, Festus met with the chief priests and Jewish elders in Jerusalem. He declined their nefarious request for Paul to defend himself before them in Jerusalem. He then convened his court in Caesarea, where:

  • the Jews repeated the accusations that they had leveled against Paul before Felix
  • Paul repeated his defense from his hearing with Felix.

Festus did not render a verdict in Paul’s case – as he wished to do the Jews a favor. Paul, though, seized the initiative by appealing to Caesar; Festus granted his request.

Thoughts: In verse 3, we see that the Jews planned to kill Paul if Festus allowed him to be tried in Jerusalem. Had they forgotten how Claudius Lysias foiled their previous attempt to ambush Paul? Did they recall that failure and assemble a large band of men who could overwhelm 470 well-trained Roman soldiers? Did they assume that Festus would be less scrupulous when it came to Paul’s safety? Was Claudius Lysias still the commander of the Roman troops in Jerusalem when Festus assumed his position as governor of Judea? If so, did he warn Festus of the Jews’ murderous intent concerning Paul?

This passage reinforces the theme of the sovereignty of God that pervades the book of Acts. Here, we see that He is sovereign over the nefarious plans of the Jews, as they fail to kill Paul on the road between Caesarea and Jerusalem. He also displays His sovereignty over the desire of Festus to do the Jews a favor – thereby easing his transition to the role of governor of Judea. Indeed, Festus could have denied Paul’s appeal to have his case heard in Rome – yet God determined that Festus would consult with his council and adhere to the law in this case. Clearly God had determined that His sovereign plan would not be affected by corrupt government officials. As modern-day believers, we should meditate on God’s sovereignty and draw strength from it.

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