Acts 25:24 And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
25 But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.
26 Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
27 For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
In verse 24 we see that Festus first had to give his words before he would allow Paul to speak. Paul was now present to hear what Festus would say, but he was not yet allowed to speak. Festus understood that the Jews opposed Paul’s message in various places. The Jews were so opposed to the truth that they wanted Paul put to death.
False religion is not nearly as tolerant as it claims to be. It will tolerate other false religion, but has no room for truth. The Bible makes it clear that we are in a spiritual warfare. There is a battle taking place between God and the devil. God is the victor and one day the devil will be cast into the lake of fire. We as people do not function the way God does. We are not longsuffering as He is. We can be thankful that He is longsuffering. He makes it possible for us to hear the truth many times. A few people will repent toward God and put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Most will remain lost and end up in the lake of fire with the devil for all eternity.
The Bible is clear that man must choose his path. All begin on the same path.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
All begin on the broad way that leads to destruction. God has given us His Word which points out our need to be saved and thus He takes us off the broad way and places us on the narrow way. God has also given His Holy Spirit to work in the conscience of every person to convince every person of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. God has also provided the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who came to this earth and lived among men for some 33 years. He taught us the truth as it had been given in the Old Testament. He suffered and died on the cross of Calvary and was buried and rose again victorious over sin and death. He ascended back to heaven and is seated on the right hand of His Father in heaven now. Salvation is a gift of God that He has made available to all people. Man has the ability to choose to listen to God or to reject Him and go his own way.
Paul was given that same choice and he wisely chose to repent toward God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews also had that same choice but they chose to reject God and fought against the truth. Festus observed this conflict and to him it was a form of entertainment. He did not take this matter seriously. Rome was filled with false religion. He was “too busy” to bother with pursuing the truth. He was given the same opportunity that Paul was. Now he would be given another opportunity to choose life as opposed to continuing to live in spiritual death.
In verse 25 Festus again reminded those in attendance that he did not find anything in Paul that was worthy of death. Festus did not know the Scriptures and thus he actually could not even speak to what was going on. As a politician he had observed religion from afar. He knew that according to the accusations made against Paul, there was nothing done that was against Roman law. Festus also stated that Paul had appealed unto Augustus and Festus had agreed to send him to Augustus.
In verse 26 we see that Festus was in a predicament. He agreed to send Paul to Augustus, but he had no accusation to present against Paul. As a politician, Festus wanted to remain in Augustus’ good books. He did not want to do anything that might annoy the Caesar.
Festus was hoping that Agrippa could help him to write a letter that would be suitable for the Caesar. As we will see, this would give Paul great opportunity to give his testimony. Paul was not interested in wasting time with the false accusations made against him. He would spend the bulk of his time declaring the truth and giving those in attendance the opportunity to know the truth. He was led by God to do so.
In verse 27, Festus knew that it was not proper to send a prisoner to Rome without showing what his crimes were. Paul would be travelling to Rome at the expense of the government. Governments are famous for wasting taxpayer dollars.
I read that the governor general of Canada wasted almost $100,000.00 in catering fees while she flew with her entourage to some meetings in Europe. The government likes to waste money on itself. However, they are very stingy with those who have legitimate needs. Our veterans are often treated very poorly and yet they fought to defend this country. We know that the government also wants to withhold EI from those who refuse to take the shots and lose their jobs because of that. There are many ways in which the government demands taxes, but then wastes the money collected on useless ventures.
We see in our text that Festus was very concerned about sending Paul to Rome without the proper paper work. As we will see, even after examining Paul, they will not have any crime to record against him. Paul was an innocent man. His only “crime” was that he was a bold servant of God. The fight that the Jews had was not really with Paul. It was with God. However, the Jews could not attack God and so they were trying to take their hatred out on one of God’s faithful servants. Lost people foolishly assume that they would be better off if they could just get rid of the truth. We are witnessing the effects of this attitude in our own country right now. Crime is increasing. Drug abuse is increasing. Immorality is abounding. People are being severely injured and some are dying due to experimental injections that the government is deceiving many into accepting. Things are not better with a reduction in the proclamation of truth. Things are getting worse.
God would protect Paul and give the Jews and the Roman officials the opportunity to be confronted with their sin and to see the need to be saved. They would be reminded of the fact that Jesus Christ was the Saviour and that they needed to turn to God and be saved.
The Romans would have had a record of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had been on trial before Pilate. Pilate had sent Him to stand before Herod. Pilate had signed the death warrant for Jesus. Barabbas, a criminal, was released while Jesus was condemned. That would all have been known to the Romans. What they did not accept was that Jesus Christ was God and that He rose again from the dead. Rome had its own false religion which could be traced all the way back to Nimrod. Rome did not believe they needed any other religion, just as the Jews did not believe they needed a Saviour.
God was merciful to them and gave Paul the opportunity to proclaim the truth to these heathen people. We do not know if any of them would eventually be saved. We know that king Agrippa was not saved, nor was Festus. They died proud and lost. A great tragedy. How important to listen to God’s Word and receive His Word. Paul was blessed in being saved and serving God. That same blessing is available for all people. It is important to receive the truth and respond in humility. God’s peace is a great blessing that man needs and God provides through repentance toward Him and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.