Scripture reading for June 9th: Acts 25
Politics and religion are ways of the world that men use to gain control over others. It was no different in Paul’s day. After he had spent two years in jail as a result of a politician, the Roman governor Felix, a new leader took his place. Felix kept Paul, looking for a bribe. Now as the new governor, Festus, visited Jerusalem he was confronted by the Jews concerning the prisoner Paul. They felt he should die because of their original charges and Festus offered them opportunity to again make their case.
Festus convened the hearing in Caesarea. “When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.” Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” 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?” (Acts 25:7-9) Paul stated that he was willing to die if he had done anything worthy of death, but as a Roman citizen, he appealed to Caesar. Festus declared that that was where he would be sent!
Festus was visited by King Agrippa and his wife. Festus shared Paul’s case with the king and discussed the lack of clear charges with him. “When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.” (Acts 25:18-19) In the midst of political and religious disputes, God was at work through Paul sharing the good news with all!