And after some days King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus. When they had been there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying: “There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix, about whom the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, when I was in Jerusalem, asking for a judgment against him. To them I answered, ‘It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.’ Therefore when they had come together, without any delay, the next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought in. When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed, but had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. And because I was uncertain of such questions, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters. But when Paul appealed to be reserved for the decision of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I could send him to Caesar.”
Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I also would like to hear the man myself.”
“Tomorrow,” he said, “you shall hear him.”
“…a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive…” a different translation puts it more bluntly: “…about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive…”. Festus’ view of the conflict between Paul and the Jews who accused him of wrong may be consistent with a general world-view held by unbelievers. If so, we can see how ludicrous the gospel might seem to an unbeliever. This also highlights Paul’s faithfulness in proclaiming Jesus, alive, to any who would listen without regard to how they might view it. What makes this proclamation more intriguing is that Paul never knew Jesus personally during the time Jesus walked on earth and taught here. Paul met Jesus through a vision…mystical stuff. Yet it is very real as any believer can attest to in their own relationship with the Lord. The knowledge and reality of Jesus is in the relationship with Him, a relationship that restores God’s creation to the relationship he intended at creation as put forth in Genesis. And so we see the truth of the statements made in scripture that God uses the foolish to confound the wise. Specifically the foolishness of the believing world in contrast to the ‘wisdom’ of the unbelieving world.
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. – I Corinthians 1:21
Our take away is to just be faithful to spread the word of God, share what we receive with those who cross our paths and let the Lord sort them out. There will be those who will view what we share as foolishness and there will be those God knows will also receive it and find salvation. This is a good reminder that this is the Lord’s work not our own.