Daily Reflections

Acts 25:13-21

Festus succeeded Felix as the governor of Judaea (see Acts 24:27). Felix had in fact been recalled to Rome around AD 59 to account for his misrule and a number of embarrassing incidents such as an outbreak of violent riots between the Jews and the Syrians. Festus, in contrast, was a competent and effective ruler who governed with wisdom and honesty – despite his tenure lasting only two years (he died in office). It was common practice for those in authority, such as King Agrippa with his Queen, Bernice, to visit and pay their respects to a newly installed ruler.

We can glean from Festus’s discussion with King Agrippa and Bernice that he was a cautious and conscientious ruler who wanted to do what was right and just in the case of Paul. As a Roman citizen Paul was entitled to due legal process and the opportunity to defend himself. Festus arranged for a trial but was shocked because the Pharisees did not accuse Paul of a civil or criminal wrongdoing but engaged in a dispute about Jesus. Festus, clearly no tyrant and with a respect for the legal system, invited Paul to go to Jerusalem and stand trial.

Paul’s desire to preach the gospel of Christ moved him into the world of power, politics and influence. His mission propelled him to bear witness to the most powerful and influential people of his day – the Sanhedrin, the procurator of Judaea and royalty. The gospel has the power to transform not only individuals but society also. We are called not to withdraw from this world but to engage it, to serve within it and to pray for all those in positions of authority and power.

It is the Holy Spirit who imparts to our hearts an understanding of the efficacy of the gospel message in renewing and transforming our society. Not all of us are called or have the opportunity to become involved in either local or national politics, but we can pray for the men and women who work within the existing structures to serve others and who witness to Christ with courage and dignity.

‘Lord Jesus, I rejoice in the witness of our brother Paul and his understanding that salvation is for all. Grant me the same courage and dedication to witness for you. Give me a spirit of intercession which lifts up all those public servants who work and struggle to influence society with your gospel.’

Acts 25:13-21  •  Psalm 102(103):1-2, 11-12, 19-20
John 21:15-19

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