25 Acts, Paul is ‘surrounded’

22 Jun

Paul’s Trial Before Festus

25 “Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me, and if the man has done anything wrong, they can press charges against him there.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them.

‘When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him.’

Paul is surrounded. But…

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 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. 11 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!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”

Surrounded.

Paul has many near him. He is surrounded by Jews at this trial; Festus and Romans sit in council and surround the Jews and Paul with their military and politic powers; –

-and, yet, as Acts 23:11 tells us,

11 “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

Surrounding them all, Jews Elders and Roman officials; witnesses and soldiers; surrounding us all is Jesus.

He is near; he hears and sees; he guides and leads. Jesus surrounds Paul; Jesus loves the surrounded Paul.

He loves you; he loves me. He surrounds all.

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