Acts 25

Have you ever had to speak up for yourself or defend yourself when talking to someone? Have you ever had to justify your experience? What was that like for you?

In Acts 25 Paul boldly defends himself in the face of accusations, saying “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.” (Acts 25:8 ESV)

I can’t help but wonder what that was like for him. He confronts accusations from people who disagree with and speak falsely about him. He’s aware of the implications of his actions and the charges people claim.

When pressed by Festus, he further defends himself with transparency, urging that he didn’t do anything wrong. “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. 11 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.” (Acts 25:10-11 ESV)

And then Agrippa, the king, shows up.
Festus shares all of this with Agrippa, prompting Agrippa to want to hear Paul.  Acts 25 includes this statement by Festus to Agrippa; “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 the opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him (Acts 25:16, ESV).”  As Festus communicates to Agrippa what’s happening specifically the religious challenges to Paul and his responses, Agrippa wants to hear this first-hand.

This chapter’s events take place in Caesarea, a site on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in Israel. The remains are still accessible to visit today and are quite impressive. The site is expansive, indicating this location was notable. And so was the audience coming to Caesarea to hear Paul’s defense. Acts 25 verse 23 records that not only was royalty present for Paul’s defense but so were other important people.    

All of this to say that Paul, in defending himself and speaking the truth, has now found himself in a moment where he will continue to speak face to face in the presence of many important people. Paul is driven in declaring the truth and gospel of Jesus, which brings him to critical moments, such as those recorded in this chapter. What will he do? What will he say?

We face situations where we are face to face with accusations, speculations, and doubts about us, our faith, and God. And we encounter moments where we must ask ourselves what will we do? What will we say? May we speak truth, with courage, through our words and actions. Most importantly may we reflect our God of love who, just as Paul declared then and we declare today, is alive.

By Katie Wagner

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