Check out all the previous Acts readings here.
Acts Reading Plan | Week 17 | Day 1
As you come to spend time with Jesus, calm your mind and body until you feel fully present.
1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” You come before a Holy God. His holiness leads us to reverence and it also means we can trust Him. As we look upon His holiness, it also can bring up ways we realize how we are not holy. Thank God for his holiness and confess any sin you need to.
Bible Reading: Acts 25:1-12
Read these verses three times slowly.
Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 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. Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. Let some of your leaders come with me, and if the man has done anything wrong, they can press charges against him there.”
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. 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.
Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”
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?”
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!”
After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”
Reflection & Questions
Last week, we ended our readings with Paul in prison. He had been there for two years with no sign of a hearing or action taken on his case. Finally, in today’s reading something is changing for him and he gets a hearing to defend himself.
It is fascinating to read how the Roman justice system worked (and we will read more about it tomorrow), but even more importantly, we read here about how Paul was able to defend himself. Paul is able to say with a clear conscience, “I have not done any wrong to the Jews.” Paul is above reproach. Paul is not scared to die, but he also wants to make it clear that a death sentence would be a clear miscarriage of justice. He can represent Jesus and the gospel well because he has watched his life carefully.
Being above reproach is what we are called to as followers of Jesus. Whether it is in how we handle our relationships, our finances, our social media, our internet searches, our language, or conflict resolution (for a few examples). We are to pay attention to our words and our conduct so that we do not bring shame on the name of Jesus or his gospel. Philippians 2:15, “Do everything…so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Paul wants us to shine like stars to bring glory to God. How can we shine for Jesus if we’re not endeavoring to live above reproach?
- Is there an area of your life that is not above reproach? What do you need to do about it?
Pray in response to today’s reading.
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
Check out more Bible Reading Plans here.