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Paul’s Roman Trial–Festus Hears False Accusations

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Lincoln was surprised one day when a man of rather forbidding countenance drew a revolver and thrust the weapon into his face. In such circumstances “Abe” at once concluded that any attempt at debate or argument was a waste of time. “What seems to be the matter? … More

Falsely Accused

At the beginning of this chapter we find Festus, the new governor, coming into power (v. 1). He replaced Felix who had been recalled to Rome in disgrace for the way he had been handling Jewish problems. Festus was a much stronger leader than Felix, but he only served two years because he died in office. No doubt Ananias, the high priest, looked on the removal of Felix as an opportunity to get rid of Paul (vv. 2-3). Soon after taking office Festus made a trip to Jerusalem. At this time the Jewish religious leaders, asked Festus to have Paul brought to Jerusalem for trial, but did not tell him that they intended to have him killed on the way. However God was watching over Paul, and He used Festus’ refusal to transfer Paul to protect him (v. 4).

Festus did promise the Jews that he would look into the matter when he got back to Caesarea. At his suggestion the Jewish leaders sent a delegation to Caesarea to present a formal complaint against Paul (v. 5). Festus ordered Paul to be brought before the Roman court, and the Jewish leaders once again leveled their false accusation against Paul (v. 7). The case against Paul was reopened as though he had never stood trial before. It must have been very frustrating for Paul to know his own innocence, and that probably a bribe would have secured his release. Now he was facing the hazards of another trial, before a ruler less familiar with the workings of Jewish law, custom and prejudice. He had to cast himself upon the Lord many times to have patience and keep himself happy.

Application

I can think of a few times in my life when I have been falsely accused because of my stand for the Lord (Matthew 5:11-12). I would hope that my reaction before the Lord has been right. It has been  asked, “If someone wanted to prove that I was a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?”

Acts 25:1-7 (English Standard Version)

Now three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him, asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalem--because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way. Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly. "So," said he, "let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him." After he stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove.

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