Thursday, September 22, 2011

Paul Stands Before Festus

Today I read Acts 25 where Paul speaks to Festus, who I am not really sure who he is but he is over Felix. The Jews ask Festus to bring Paul down to Jerusalem to hear his testimony there because they wish to kill Paul while he is en route to Jerusalem. Festus declines stating that he will leave Paul where he is but if the Jews in question have something against Paul, they should come up with Festus to give their testimony against them.

When Festus hears Paul's testimony and hears what the Jews are upset about, he declares that there is nothing that Paul has done that he can determine. However he doesn't want to offend the Jews so he asks Paul if he is willing to go down to Jerusalem to be judged. Paul says he is not willing to go because he has done nothing wrong and he appeals to Caesar. I can only assume Paul appeals to Caesar because when Jesus visited him He told Paul that He wanted Paul to testify of Him in Rome.

Festus returns Paul to his cell to wait until he can send him to Rome. While Paul is waiting, King Agrippa arrives to visit Festus. Festus tells him all about Paul, how he inherited this trial from Felix and that he cannot find anything wrong with him or worthy of death at all and that it all involves some superstition of the Jews and now Paul has appealed to Caesar. King Agrippa wants to hear Paul also and so Festus arranges for him to hear Paul's testimony.

I am again struck by how in both the case of Jesus and Paul, no one could find any problems with what they were doing, except the Jews. They were the only ones who were upset and they always resorted to trying to kill them. They almost remind me of a petulant child who when they are having an argument and they can't win resort to hitting the other person. If they can't win fairly, then maybe violence will solve it, or some such nonsense. You've got to hand it to the Jews that at least they are trying to do it legally, but when it fails they have no problem whatsoever resorting to violence. It almost reminds me of the radicals in the Muslim religion. Most people who belong to the Muslim faith are wonderful, kind individuals who are trying to worship God in the manner that they know how. The extremists however are bloodthirsty misguided individuals who desire to kill all those who don't believe the way they do.

I mean, which religion would you rather follow? The one where you are taught to be a good person and look out for each other? Or the one that when someone doesn't believe the way you do, you kill them? I personally prefer to do good to others and help people no matter what name they use to call upon God. We are all brothers and sisters and God is our father. Shouldn't we love all of those around us and try to help our brothers and sisters? The golden rule teaches us treat others as we would want to be treated. Imagine if we all did that. What a world that would be. That would be a true paradise. Until tomorrow.

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