Today’s Matins Sermonette is by Rev. Mark Schulz of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Tallahassee, Florida.
Paul Kept in Custody
Acts 24 (24) After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. (25) And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” (26) At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. (27) When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
Paul Appeals to Caesar
Acts 25 (1) Now three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. (2) And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him, (3) asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalem—because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way. (4) Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly. (5) “So,” said he, “let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him.”
(6) After he stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. (7) When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove. (8) Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.” (9) But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?” (10) But Paul said, “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.” (12) Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.”