An Appeal to Caesar - Acts 25

An Appeal to Caesar

Acts 25:1-27

Justice!  What was going on?

The high priest and the chief men of the Jews had brought false charges against the apostle Paul before Felix.  When Paul defended himself, the governor promised a swift verdict, but justice was delayed.  Felix knew that Paul was an innocent man, but he keep him bound and in custody for two years, hoping to receive a bribe before releasing him.

Felix was succeeded by Festus, who also got an earful of the charges against Paul from the Jewish leadership.  After spending ten days with them in Jerusalem, he went to Caesarea, where Paul was brought before him.  His accusers were there, and they "laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove."  The apostle answered from himself, saying, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all." 

Festus asked, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?"  He asked this, "wanting to do the Jews a favor."  This is exactly what the Jews wanted Festus to do.  However, they intended to lay in ambush along the road to Jerusalem and kill Paul.

The governor was turning a blind eye to justice.  Paul said to Festus, "To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know," accusing him of injustice.

What is justice?  It means that no matter who you are, you have the right to be treated justly and fairly, as an equal with everyone else.  There is a famous statue of a woman, holding a set of counterbalancing scales.  The most impressive thing about the woman is that she is blindfolded.  She is a symbol of justice, caring only for the truth.

Paul realized that in the court of Festus no one was blindfolded.  He could not get a fair trial in Caesarea or Jerusalem.  The politicians were corrupt.  Asserting his right as a Roman citizen, he said, "I appeal to Caesar."  Festus answered, "You have appealed to Caesar?  To Caesar you shall go!" 

First we have to go back to the night following Paul's arrest.  You'll remember that Jesus stood by the apostle and said, "Be of good cheer, Paul."  He added, "For as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome."  Acts 23:11.

The apostle Paul had not only appealed to Caesar to get a fair trial.  He was also going to Rome to preach Jesus and the resurrection.  Jesus was still standing by Paul, and leading the way.

 

Lord, throughout human history many people have suffered injustice.  But we believe that You are in control, and that You have a plan for our lives.  Help us to see You at work in all things.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

Almost Persuaded - Acts 26 

 
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