Episode #114. Today we’ll read Acts chapter 25 together: Festus replaces Felix as Governor; Paul appeals to Caesar; and Paul testifies before King Agrippa.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #114. Today we’ll read Acts chapter 25 together: Festus replaces Felix as Governor; Paul appeals to Caesar; and Paul testifies before King Agrippa.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
I haven’t checked in with you lately! How are you doing? Are you sticking with a daily routine when it comes to your Bible-reading time? Are you having to play catch up sometimes? I would love to have answers to these questions. You see, I pray for you. I pray that you will continually be drawn to the word. Psalm 42, verses 1 & 2 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
I read that in the New International Version because I like the way it uses the word “pants”…it’s such a great word picture, isn’t it? It is my hope that we all chase after His word in the same way that thirst drives us to water. That drive is never interrupted by distractions. When we’re hungry or thirsty, there is only one thing on our mind and only one thing will satisfy. Please let me know on Facebook or on the website how I can pray for you in other ways.
By the way, you may want to read all eleven verses of Psalm 42. It’s hauntingly beautiful and deeply intimate.
Acts Chapter 25
Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. The chief priests and the leaders of the Jews presented their case against Paul to him; and they appealed, asking for a favor against Paul, that Festus summon him to Jerusalem. They were, in fact, preparing an ambush along the road to kill him. Festus, however, answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to go there shortly. “Therefore,” he said, “let those of you who have authority go down with me and accuse him, if he has done anything wrong.”
When he had spent not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea. The next day, seated at the tribunal, he commanded Paul to be brought in. When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him and brought many serious charges that they were not able to prove. Then Paul made his defense: “Neither against the Jewish law, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I sinned in any way.”
Appeal to Caesar
But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, replied to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem to be tried before me there on these charges?”
Paul replied, “I am standing at Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as even you yourself know very well. If then I did anything wrong and am deserving of death, I am not trying to escape death; but if there is nothing to what these men accuse me of, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar!”
Then after Festus conferred with his council, he replied, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you will go.”
King Agrippa and Bernice Visit Festus
Several days later, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid a courtesy call on Festus. Since they were staying there several days, Festus presented Paul’s case to the king, saying, “There’s a man who was left as a prisoner by Felix. When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews presented their case and asked that he be condemned. I answered them that it is not the Roman custom to give someone up before the accused faces the accusers and has an opportunity for a defense against the charges. So when they had assembled here, I did not delay.
The next day I took my seat at the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in. The accusers stood up but brought no charge against him of the evils I was expecting. Instead they had some disagreements with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, a dead man Paul claimed to be alive. Since I was at a loss in a dispute over such things, I asked him if he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding these matters. But when Paul appealed to be held for trial by the Emperor, I ordered him to be kept in custody until I could send him to Caesar.”
Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.”
“Tomorrow you will hear him,” he replied.
Paul before Agrippa
So the next day, Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the auditorium with the military commanders and prominent men of the city. When Festus gave the command, Paul was brought in.
Then Festus said, “King Agrippa and all men present with us, you see this man. The whole Jewish community has appealed to me concerning him, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he should not live any longer. I found that he had not done anything deserving of death, but when he himself appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him. I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore, I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after this examination is over, I may have something to write. For it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner without indicating the charges against him.”
Paul is offended in this chapter that he would be asked to go back to Jerusalem to be tried. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that Paul had already gotten wind of the second ambush being planning. He had been kept on house arrest for over two years at Caesar’s tribunal and he was a Roman citizen. He also knew that the Lord wanted him to go to Rome, as evidenced by Acts 23:11.
In light of all the arrows pointing toward Rome, he appealed to Caesar with very strong words. Festus is more than happy to send Paul to Caesar but would like to send a letter of explanation to the Emperor along with him. The trouble is that he really doesn’t know what to say.
Enter King Agrippa who is well-versed in all things Jewish. He happens to be visiting and Festus asks him for help. Tomorrow, in chapter 26, we will hear Part 2, of Paul, Festus, Agrippa, and Bernice.
Let’s pray. Father, You had a plan. For Christ. For Paul. For redemption for all those who would accept Your gift of grace. I praise You that You had this plan from the very beginning. Help us to always see circumstances thru Your eyes, Lord, and to know that You are always at work. Help us to see You and join You in that work. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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