Appeal to Authority
Day: 27 | Plan: Acts
Today's Reading: Acts 25
Acts 25:10-11 (NIV) “Paul answered: ‘I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!’”
In Acts 25 we find Paul still stuck in the middle of false accusations, imprisoned for his faith and awaiting yet another trial. By this time Paul has spent two years in prison because of baseless charges brought against him by the Jewish religious leaders.
Imagine waiting for your day in court, pleading and really proving your innocence only to have the “judge” delay your sentence day after day, month after month, as one year stretches into two.
Finally Paul stands before a new judge, Festus the Roman governor of Caesarea, who will decide his fate.
During the trial, the Jewish leaders are unable to make their case against Paul, a fact he affirms saying, “ I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar .” (Acts 25:8)
Hoping to appease the Jews, Festus asks Paul if he’d be willing to face trial in Jerusalem.
He boldly declares his innocence and appeals to Caesar. Roman rule allowed a citizen being tried to move to a higher court of appeal if he felt justice was not being served. This is a courageous, yet faith-filled demand Paul makes. The current “Caesar” to whom he appeals is Nero, one of the most vicious and prolific persecutors of Christians in history.
Given this rampant persecution, Paul’s appeal could have been risky and dangerous. Why would Paul appeal to Caesar? Perhaps the promise of God that Paul would minister in Rome (Acts 23:11) gave him boldness to trust God in any circumstance and any court.
Thoughts of the Lord’s words must have flooded Paul’s mind as he makes his appeal. How often had these very words comforted his heart during his two-year imprisonment? He would not die here. Paul knew he had work to do in Rome, and he would gladly go there and do it.
I wonder if he wasn’t really appealing to Caesar. I think in his heart he was appealing to his God.
We appeal to God’s all-encompassing power and authority over others’ sinister plans, hate-filled lies or unjust circumstances when we trust in the midst of trouble. When circumstances seem to enslave us, our faith is all we need to truly be free.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your power can never be stopped. Help me proclaim this truth when my circumstances scream louder than my faith. In seasons of waiting or when I’m feeling harassed, help me remember that Your grace is enough for me. I can appeal to the highest Power in this world and in me—Your unchanging love and goodness. In Jesus’ name, amen.
At the end of today’s passage, Festus admits to King Agrippa that Paul “had done... Read More
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