Now when Festus had come to the province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they petitioned him, asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem—while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him. But Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was going there shortly. “Therefore,” he said, “let those who have authority among you go down with me and accuse this man, to see if there is any fault in him.”
And when he had remained among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day, sitting on the judgment seat, he commanded Paul to be brought. When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove, while he answered for himself, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”
But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?”
So Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know. For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!”
While we do not have the mind-set of the unbelieving world, we do live in the same space and time as they. While we do not place our trust and reliance upon world systems and ideologies, their systems have been used by God to accomplish His work. Many times we do not see the ‘whys’ until after a situation has cleared up, or we have moved on in time and we looking back, can see the hand of God in all of it. Paul’s ministry is about to expand. Once again, we are brought to an understanding that we do not have the ‘big’ picture, however we can rely on the One who does. What looks like a bad situation turning worse for Paul will only expand God’s kingdom to places Paul would not have had access to otherwise. Paul, in all of this, continues to be faithful to his witness for Christ. That is our take away, no matter what, no matter the limitations of our view, let us be found faithful to that which the Lord has given us to accomplish even as we know He is the one doing the work.
There is a tone of confidence in Paul’s reply, a sense of assurance. His reaction to the charges, even the questioning of Festus, the new person in charge, is not that of one shaken. Rather there is evidence of an unshakeable faith in the Lord shining through. Again we can take from this a surety that our faith in the Lord will give us the confidence to face our accusers, to face the attacks thrown against us or any opposition we may face when sharing the word of God with others. Stand firm, Paul states this on several occasions, from experience. Stand firm, the message comes from Christ and other prophets. Stand firm, the Lord directs us and in that we have confidence and will not be shaken.
My mercy I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall stand firm with him
Do you see a man [who] excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown [men]. – Proverbs 22:29;
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13
So finally, watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Stand with confidence.