Jesus’ Life: Chapter 23 – Paul’s Journey To Rome And Imprisonment
When Felix was replaced as Governor by Festus, he left Paul in prison as a favour to the Jews at their request! However, within days of his arrival, Festus arranged a trial for Paul.
The chief priests and elders maliciously asked for the trial to be held in Jerusalem so, they could ambush the soldier-escort transporting Paul from Caesarea and kill Paul. Festus, perhaps aware of their malice, arranged for the trial to coincide with his plans when he was at Caesarea and where Paul was imprisoned.
The charges, without witnesses, presented by the Jews against Paul were first, he was a troublemaker stirring up riots among the Jews, second, he was the ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes and finally, he attempted to profane the temple.
Paul’s defence was direct. He told the hearing that he had broken no law; neither the law of the Jews, moral law, ceremonial law nor judicial law; neither laws against the Jewish people nor laws against Caesar, the Romans. Indeed, when they seized him in the temple he reminded them that he was performing purification, part of their laws.
Festus knew that Paul had committed no crimes against Rome and wanted to release him. However, the Jews objected and Festus, as a new Governor and probably wishing to conciliate with them, asked Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and be tried before me there on these charges?” (Acts 28:18; Acts 25:9)
Paul’s response was emphatic and reflected his usual fearlessness. He said, “I am standing before Caesar’s judgement seat” – the correct tribunal, “If then I am in the wrong and have done anything that deserves death, I am not trying to escape dying…, [but] no one can hand me over to them”. So, “I appeal to Caesar!” (Acts 25:11)
Paul was fully conversant of his rights as a Roman citizen and Festus was obliged to respect them. After conferring with his council, Festus then pronounced his judgement saying, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you will go!” (Acts 25:12) (Acts 25:1 – 26:32)
Why do I hold grudges?
What prevents me from freeing others from my shackles?
Lord Jesus, remove from my heart all malice towards others, my family and relatives, my community and work colleagues, my country and the whole world. Amen.
Prayer: Temptation (St Alphonsus)
Mary, my Mother,
your love for us could not be more greater or more powerful.
You are rich in love and your power brings us relief.
You want everyone to be saved.
I beg you, therefore, protect me in temptation and strengthen me when I weaken.
I struggle daily to be faithful to your Son.
Help me, my Mother, at every moment.
But above all, take me by the hand when you see that I am weakening and about to fall.
I will have to battle with temptation until the day I die.
My Lady, you are my hope, my refuge, my strength, never let me lose the grace of God.
In every temptation, I resolve to turn to you at once and pray; Mary, help me.