Life-Study of Actsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we considered Paul’s situation in relation to that of the Jewish religion, Roman politics, and the church life. Now we shall consider various matters in 25:1-27, where Luke goes further in presenting a picture of Judaism, the Roman government, and the church life.
According to 24:27, “When two years were completed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and wanting to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul bound.” Porcius Festus was the successor of Felix as governor of Judea. In 25:1—26:32 we see that Paul was left to Festus, the successor of Felix.
Acts 25:1-3 says, “Festus therefore, having come into the province, after three days went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and leading men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they kept entreating him, asking for a favor against him, so that he might summon him to Jerusalem, setting an ambush to do away with him on the way.” Here we see that the leaders of the Jews begged Festus to bring Paul back to Jerusalem from Caesarea. Two years earlier, the Roman commander had used four hundred seventy soldiers to take Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea. Now these Jewish leaders entreated Festus to bring Paul back so that they could set an ambush in order to kill him.
Verses 4 and 5 continue, “Festus therefore answered that Paul was kept in custody in Caesarea, and that he himself was about to proceed there shortly. Therefore, he says, let able men from among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong in the man, let them accuse him.” The Greek word rendered “wrong” in verse 5 may also be translated “out of place,” “amiss.”
We have pointed out in foregoing messages that the record of Acts indicates that Roman politics was corrupt. Nevertheless, Roman law was very strong. Although the politicians in the Roman government were corrupt, they still cared for the law. Therefore, when Festus was asked to bring Paul back to Jerusalem, he considered that such an action was not according to Roman law, and he rejected the request of the Jewish leaders.
We have pointed out that, in contrast to the Lord Jesus, it was necessary for Paul to make a defense in order to save his life from his persecutors so that he might fulfill the course of his ministry. In 25:6-8 Paul defended himself before Festus. Verses 6 and 7 say, “And having stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea; and on the next day he sat on the judgment seat and ordered Paul to be brought. And when he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him, which they were not able to prove.” Here we see that the Jewish leaders fulfilled Festus’ request in verse 5.
Actually, in defending himself before Festus Paul did not say very much. He simply denied doing anything against either Jewish law or Roman law: “While Paul said in his defense. Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I sinned in anything” (v. 8).
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