Festus then, having arrived in the province, three days later went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the leading men of the Jews brought charges against Paul, and they were urging him, requesting a concession against Paul, that he might have him brought to Jerusalem ( at the same time, setting an ambush to kill him on the way). Festus then answered that Paul was being kept in custody at Caesarea and that he himself was about to leave shortly. "Therefore," he said, "let the influential men among you go there with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them prosecute him." After he had spent not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him which they could not prove, while Paul said in his own defense, "I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar." But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these charges? " But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know. If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar." Then when Festus had conferred with his council, he answered, "You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go." (Acts 25:1-12 NASB)
Festus' first ruling act as governor was to call Paul in front of him for hearing the case. This case had already gone on for two years (see Acts 24:27). The charges were frivolous (lacking any serious purpose). It was ridiculous that this circus even continued. Politics often get things twisted into a mess. Statutes and protocols are meant to give due process of law, not to run people through a ringer of entanglements. Then, as now, we see posturing going on in the political, legal, corporate, and social world. Frankly, I am disgusted with the rhetoric that is spewed by those who are supposed to be the persons of character and integrity. Paul was caught in a web of political, religious, and legal nonsense. However, God was using the circumstances to promote His Kingdom and to spread the gospel. Regardless of the mess we are entangled in in our current world of circumstance, we must recognize the sovereignty of Almighty God. He rules above all. His is the power to intervene and determine. Right now, life is spinning seemingly out of control, but I have good news: He's still in control!!! Trust your life in His care (I Peter 5:7). He has the power to work it out. Give it to Him and let Him bring good from it (Romans 8:28). He is able!!! (Ephesians 3:20).
Rev. Curtis Norris