Acts 25:1-12 Video Devotional

“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. Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.” But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?” But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well. If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.”” (Acts 25:1-12)

Today we reach one of my favorite lines in Paul’s story. “I appeal to Caesar!” How did we get to this? And what does it mean? Paul contentedly spent a couple of years in “jail” under Felix, taking advantage of every opportunity to share the gospel and connect with whomever he could meet with. Though he was technically a prisoner, he was more of a protected visitor in practice, though was certainly stuck in his situation (thanks to Felix wanting a bribe). Once Festus took over, the trail reconvened with the Jewish council asking to get the trial moved to Jerusalem (they were still hoping to ambush him and kill him).

Festus would have none of that. Though he did want to do the Jews a favor, so he gave Paul the option of choosing to go to Jerusalem to complete the trial (even though everyone was already in Caesarea). Paul would have none of that. He knows that if he is given up to the Jewish council, death would be on the menu. He also has a goal, and Jerusalem is NOT on the way. And that’s why we get the appeal. As a Roman citizen, Paul has the right as the defendant to appeal to Caesar. And if he appeals, he MUST go. That means going to Rome. On the government’s dollar. Brilliant! Acts 1:8 is on its way to being fulfilled in the pages of this book – and yet is a mission in which we are still participating!

It is fun to watch God work out these situations into incredible adventures and salvation for many people. Paul’s understanding of Roman law and Jewish doctrine make him the perfect person to be in this place, but it is his willingness to be used that makes this story so powerful. We are not reading this because of Paul’s brilliance, but because of his obedience and God’s power. That makes me think what could be done through my life if I was completely obedient to God. His power is here and ready – are you? Consider Matthew 24:14 – “Then the Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” The job isn’t complete. What role will you take as a kingdom builder?