When you stand firm for Jesus in the work God has given you to do, there will always be those who oppose you. We must always remember where the root of opposition begins to grow. Satan’s tireless tricks of his trade worked in the minds of those he wanted to take for his own, use them for his purposed then destroy them. He still does that today. Satan is a liar and speaks through those against Paul with unfounded accusations…just like he did at Jesus’ trial.
Those who oppose the basic tenants of faith that come from the words of Jesus, generally do not know have a personal relationship with Jesus and will oppose anything we have to say about Him. Pressing on, standing firm, not giving up will require the strength, wisdom, and power of God’s Holy Spirit living in us. Paul knew and loved Jesus deeply, as deeply as Jesus loved him. Paul had developed a strong, unbreakable bond with Jesus, so he was not giving in to the politics of religiosity that had nothing to do with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
The continuing sage of the Witnessing Prisoner goes on…
ACTS—God’s Actions through His Disciples
Acts 25, The Message
An Appeal to Caesar
1-3 Three days after Festus arrived in Caesarea to take up his duties as governor, he went up to Jerusalem. The high priests and top leaders renewed their vendetta against Paul. They asked Festus if he wouldn’t please do them a favor by sending Paul to Jerusalem to respond to their charges. A lie, of course—they had revived their old plot to set an ambush and kill him along the way.
4-5 Festus answered that Caesarea was the proper jurisdiction for Paul, and that he himself was going back there in a few days. “You’re perfectly welcome,” he said, “to go back with me then and accuse him of whatever you think he’s done wrong.”
6-7 About eight or ten days later, Festus returned to Caesarea. The next morning he took his place in the courtroom and had Paul brought in. The minute he walked in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem were all over him, hurling the most extreme accusations, none of which they could prove.
8 Then Paul took the stand and said simply, “I’ve done nothing wrong against the Jewish religion, or the Temple, or Caesar. Period.”
9 Festus, though, wanted to get on the good side of the Jews and so said, “How would you like to go up to Jerusalem, and let me conduct your trial there?”
10-11 Paul answered, “I’m standing at this moment before Caesar’s bar of justice, where I have a perfect right to stand. And I’m going to keep standing here. I’ve done nothing wrong to the Jews, and you know it as well as I do. If I’ve committed a crime and deserve death, name the day. I can face it. But if there’s nothing to their accusations—and you know there isn’t—nobody can force me to go along with their nonsense. We’ve fooled around here long enough. I appeal to Caesar.”
12 Festus huddled with his advisors briefly and then gave his verdict: “You’ve appealed to Caesar; you’ll go to Caesar!”
THINK ABOUT IT…
What led Paul to make that wise decision? For one thing, he knew that his destination was Rome, not Jerusalem, and the fastest way to get there was to appeal to Caesar. Paul also knew that the Jews had not given up their hopes of killing him, so he was wise to stay under the protection of Rome.
By appealing to Caesar, Paul forced the Romans to guard him and take him to Rome. Finally, Paul realized that he could never have a fair trial in Jerusalem anyway, so why go?
It must have infuriated the Jewish leaders when Paul, by one statement, took the case completely out of their hands. He made it clear that he was willing to die if he could be proved guilty of a capital crime, but first they had to find him guilty. Festus met with his official council, and they agreed to send Paul to Nero for trial. No doubt the new governor was somewhat embarrassed that he had handled one of his first cases so badly that the prisoner was forced to appeal to Caesar, and to Caesar he must go!
Tomorrow we see what happens next…stay tuned!
You are amazing always. You were with Paul and led him so wisely in responses to false accusations. You are amazing still as you lead us through false accusations, slander and gossip meant to harm and stop us from doing your work. You are life and you are the reason we join you in YOUR work. It is not our work; Paul is the great example of portraying this principle. Jesus’ example was greater still in hearing you, then doing what you say. Lord, keep me so close to you that I hear the slightest whisper of your voice of direction and then help me follow with the tenacity of Paul, the Witness Prisoner, of You and Your story of the redeemed.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.
Still waiting to respond to Jesus as Savior? Consider this story…
Dr. Clarence Macartney told a story about a meeting in hell. Satan called his four leading demons together and commanded them to think up a new lie that would trap more souls.
“I have it!” one demon said. “I’ll go to earth and tell people there is no God.” “It will never work,” said Satan. “People can look around them and see that there is a God.”
“I’ll go and tell them there is no heaven!” suggested a second demon, but Satan rejected that idea. “Everybody knows there is life after death and they want to go to heaven.”
“Let’s tell them there is no hell!” said a third demon. “No, conscience tells them their sins will be judged,” said the devil. “We need a better lie than that.”
Quietly, the fourth demon spoke. “I think I’ve solved your problem,” he said. “I’ll go to earth and tell everybody there is no hurry.”
The best time to trust Jesus Christ is—now! And the best time to tell others the good news of the gospel is—now! He IS coming back, you know. In the meantime, turn to all in life that is good, right, the best, not the worst. Turn to Jesus. Give him all you have for all He has for you.