“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” (Acts 25:6-7)
Paul had a ton of enemies. These enemies came from all walks of life—from the elite group of the Sanhedrin down to the ordinary Jew on the streets. It is amazing how deep their hatred ran towards him because of his faithful witness to the gospel of Christ (Acts 26:19-23). They were not contented to have him simply locked up in prison; they wanted him dead (Acts 25:1-5).
Acts 25 and 26 records Paul’s appearances before Festus and Herod Agrippa II. As Paul appeared before Festus, his enemies stood around him, throwing arrows of accusations they themselves could not prove (Acts 25:6-7). Even Festus and Agrippa could not attribute to Paul any wrongdoing worthy of death (Acts 25:13-22, 24-27; 26:30-32).
The Lord Jesus Christ warned the disciples about the high price of following Him. In having a relationship with Him, the world will hate them. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause’” (John 15:18-25).
Paul’s life was an example of true godly living for the glory of Christ. People hated him because of it. Persecutions and false accusations did not stop Paul from demonstrating his new life in Christ.
Christians are called to demonstrate and to live godly lives in this pluralistic and relativistic society. The stakes are high and the challenge of staying committed to living the gospel reminds us to always be on our knees begging for the Lord’s help. Living for Jesus doesn’t guarantee a trouble free life; however, it brings glory and honor to His holy name (1 Peter 2:11-12). Are we able to tell others the message of the gospel and allow them to witness its power by seeing our changed lives? Brethren, let us pray, for we cannot live as godly witnesses apart from His grace, mercy and empowerment.