Two years had passed since Paul came to the palace prison in Caesarea. Festus is now the governor instead of Felix. Felix thought he would be doing Paul's accusers a favour by leaving Paul in prison, but they wanted more. Two years is a long time to wait for a decision from the court. Two years is also a long time to hold on to anger, but Paul's accusers still want Paul to be killed. The devil and people want you dead when you are serving God.
Scripture says Festus is puzzled about how to investigate the charges and the claim that Jesus is alive. He realises he has been asked to decide a religious question about Jewish customs and practices (no being a Jew), so he asks Paul if he wants to stand trial at Jerusalem. Rather than return to Jerusalem, Paul, as a Roman citizen, appeals for his case to be heard by the emperor, Caesar.
Leading up to this, Paul says, “If I am guilty of anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die”. He is willing to die, but he must be heard. He continues to follow the plan of God to be heard in Rome.
Today the twists and turns of Paul's life are clarified by this truth, “Jesus is alive”. Paul was headed to Rome to testify about Jesus before the highest court in the world. Festus the fearless leader may have been puzzled, but Paul is certain. Jesus is alive, and others need to know this good news. I pray this is our testimony.
“They had some points of dispute with [Paul] about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. I was at a loss how to investigate . . .” (Acts 25:19-20).
Yahweh our Father, may the praise, testimony, and witness of our lives always be centred on this truth that puzzles people still today: Jesus is alive! May we shout it throughout this sin-cursed world. In His name we pray, Amen.
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