Sunday, 17 December 2017

Acts Chapter 25 - The Big Appeal


Change of governer but Paul is still in the same position or will that change in this new chapter?






verses 1 -  8

Now these Jews never gave up in their vendetta against Paul even though he had been held in Caesarea for two years they were still anxious to kill him so another plot is being laid at the start of this chapter.

The new governer Festus went to Jerusalem 3 days after he arrived in the province and the High Priest and other Jews can't wait to state their accusations against Paul again and ask for him to be brought to Jerusalem.
Why?
Because they have the same plan as before; ambush and kill him on the journey.

Festus refuses but offers for them to come to Caesarea and put their case to him there which happens some days later.

They lay many charges against Paul but cannot prove any of them.

When this happened Paul was still gracious and did not retaliate but simply stated in verse 8


 “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”


Why had all of this not been dismissed earlier when they had never been able to bring any proof?
Why do things have to linger on and on and keep Paul under such a situation when his accusers can not prove anything?
Why does it have to seem like he is assumed to be guilty just because they have a grievance against him and then still appears to be punished even when nothing is proved?

Where is the "innocent until proven guilty"?

There seems to have been this state of limbo for Paul for these years where he is neither innocent nor guilty and it confines him to a certain location and limited to what he can do.





verses 9 - 27

Even though they had no proof of wrongdoing against Paul instead of Festus properly acknowledging this he asks if Paul will go to Jerusalem with him to be tried there.

So now in verses 10 - 11 Paul has the opportunity to ask to go before Caesar instead which is his right as a Roman citizen.

 “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. 11 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.”


I was very struck by the way Paul said no-one could deliver him to the Jews if there was nothing in their claims and he knew Festus was well aware that they had no proof.
There is just plain statement of fact and no argument here.

Result is that Festus agrees to let him stand before Caesar.

Then we have another person brought into the picture as King Agrippa and his wife come to visit Festus.

Whether in general conversation or in a way of seeing another person's perspective of the situation, Festus brings the facts of the case before the king who is then interested enough to hear from Paul himself and this is arranged for the following day.
I do feel that from the way Festus speaks the next day that he had wanted this event to take place and that it could help him in how he could present this appeal before Caesar noting how he finishes his speech to the King and other people gathered together especially when we see how the chapter ends in verse 27

27 For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not to specify the charges against him.”


He was quite right as he was obligated to present a case against Paul to Caesar but obviously felt he should do the best job he could and not be biased.  Only something that could be verified should be brought as truth in a charge as there are always two sides to be heard and considered and proof to be needed before someone can be condemned.

Also Paul was entitled to know exactly what was said to Caesar (or anyone else about him) as it was his life and reputation that were in the balance here, not that of the accusers.



Why are people often swayed by groups of others and forget about looking for the truth.

I think there are two questions here.

  • Why are people often swayed by groups of others?
  • Will this change the agreement by Festus for the appeal before Caesar?





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