Acts 25:13-22 Video Devotional

“Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus. And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man left prisoner by Felix, and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews laid out their case against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him. I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. So when they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought. When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed. Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.” Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” said he, “you will hear him.” (Acts 25:13-22)

I find it very interesting that in these verses we get a unique conversation between Festus and Agrippa, which offers some insight into how the Romans view this conflict. King Agrippa was the “king” of Judea, but since the Jews were under Roman rule, he was more of a Roman client in place in that territory for the benefit of the emperor. As such, he had a place and some authority, but was ultimately another stop for Paul on the way to Rome.

He was introduced to Paul and Paul again took his chance to share his story – which means he shared the gospel with them. This “defense” Paul made gave the Roman officials enough evidence to actually render their verdict (at least among themselves) – Paul did nothing that deserved death. They couldn’t even properly lay out the charges against him.

It seems like Paul was going through all this craziness for nothing! Right? It’s clear to the Romans that there is no need to send him on to Caesar, as there is no reason to hold him. Yet, to Caesar he goes. Why? Because this journey is not about getting cleared of the charges. This journey is about reaching Rome and sharing the gospel to Caesar, along with anyone else who will listen. 

There are many things that we get lost in. Maybe it’s an unplanned job change or cross-country move, maybe an unexpected death or loss of a home; whatever the circumstances, it can be easy to get lost in the drama of the situation and seek only the end of the situation. But often there is more – if we are willing to take the journey to its full conclusion and allow ourselves to travail the difficult path, we can find incredible rewards in the fullness of His path and presence. Don’t run from the bad situation. Journey through it and seek God in, allowing yourself to find the plan God has for you in that pain. 



Acts 24:22-27 Video Devotional

“But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs. After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.” (Acts 24:22-27)

Chapter 24 plays out like a humorous (in my opinion) version of a courtroom trial. Tertullus, the spokesman for the Jewish council started off by going for the flattery play and never actually told Felix about the doctrinal disagreement or cultural clash that was truly at the center of the conflict. Instead, they accused Paul of starting riots and profaning the temple. So, basically they went with lies.

Paul, on the other hand, defended himself, but took a chance to share the gospel (whenever he has the opportunity, remember?) and used that to bring the conflict down to the actual truth – the doctrinal disagreement. And then the politics set in – Felix wants to do the Jews a favor, but has a prior understanding of Christianity and chooses to delay. So, the Jews at least get Paul in prison, though Felix gives him liberty and the ability to have visitors. Felix also had Paul come to meet with him and his wife to talk about Jesus. Wanting a bribe, Felix kept him around.

Paul’s goal is to get to Rome, not just to Felix the governor, so this work out beautifully for Paul. He gets to share the gospel with lots of people, he gets protection, and he gets to continue on his mission. All about serving God. God had that go on for two years until Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus.

This could be looked at as a terrible situation with Paul in jail for two years over a disagreement. However, this is not the case. Paul is quite content, as this is his pathway to Rome and he knows it. This is a challenge to us and our comfort-filled lifestyles today. How quickly would you take on obvious hardship and toil for the gospel? Even though he trusted he would survive to see Rome, it will end up being a very difficult journey. Who’s in?

The rewards will certainly be worth it.



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