Whatever your feelings or beliefs are concerning God, Jesus and the Bible, one thing is common to most of us: we would all like to know more. In today’s passage, which, for a third day, follows the story of Paul in prison in Caesarea, we see Festus’s incredulous summary of what Paul is preaching. He tells the visiting king, Agrippa, about, “this dead man named Jesus who Paul insists is alive”. You might well be in agreement with Festus and find the whole thing ridiculous and unbelievable. But if it was possible to be present in the room with Festus and king Agrippa when Paul was brought before them, I bet you’d want to hear what he had to say about it all.
Acts 25:13-22 NLT
A few days later King Agrippa arrived with his sister, Bernice, to pay their respects to Festus. During their stay of several days, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. “There is a prisoner here,” he told him, “whose case was left for me by Felix. When I was in Jerusalem, the leading priests and Jewish elders pressed charges against him and asked me to condemn him. I pointed out to them that Roman law does not convict people without a trial. They must be given an opportunity to confront their accusers and defend themselves. “When his accusers came here for the trial, I didn’t delay. I called the case the very next day and ordered Paul brought in. But the accusations made against him weren’t any of the crimes I expected. Instead, it was something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus, who Paul insists is alive. I was at a loss to know how to investigate these things, so I asked him whether he would be willing to stand trial on these charges in Jerusalem. But Paul appealed to have his case decided by the emperor. So I ordered that he be held in custody until I could arrange to send him to Caesar.” “I’d like to hear the man myself,” Agrippa said. And Festus replied, “You will—tomorrow!”
I would love to be able to meet the men who knew Jesus. Imagine what it would be like to spend time with the apostles in the first days of the church. Forget about the danger and the hardships, I imagine life was already full of that kind of worry anyway. Just let yourself imagine living around the people who Jesus himself had trained. Imagine experiencing the power and reality of that kind of faith. A faith born of a real relationship with the man, Jesus. My goal, then, is to hold on to the only thing that Festus had learned of Paul’s testimony. He knew that Paul was insisting that a dead man named Jesus is alive. If Paul was right and therefore if he really is alive, then I can dare to hope that it is indeed possible to experience a real relationship with the Lord Jesus himself
1 Chronicles 4:5-5:17, Acts 25:1-27, Psalms 5:1-12, Proverbs 18:19