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!” Acts 25:8-12 NIV
Paul probably knows he is coming to the end and I always wondered a little about what was going though his mind. Was he getting a little anxious, knowing it wouldn't be long before his life was over or was he still trying to protect himself from the Jewish leaders so he could continue spreading the gospel. Was he still full of energy or was he getting warn out from all the struggles going on and just hoping for everything to finally be over. The end of chapter 26 is what really got me wondering what Paul might be thinking.
The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.” Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” Acts 26:30-32 NIV
My first thought when I read this was wow, did Paul mess up when he appealed to Caesar? I have read where there are some who feel like Paul did make a mistake and rather than trusting God, he tried defending himself in his own way. Thinking about it, I personally don't think that sounds like something Paul did, his focus seemed to always be completely on Jesus and his thoughts were always about trying to tell everyone about who Jesus is. I dont know, maybe he had had enough and was wanting to get things over with and move on. No way of knowing what he was really thinking. I know about times in my life when I have been frustrated and said things then later thought why did I say that. If I had only not said that I would not be in this pickle. Or the times I didn't say something and thought later, why didn't I say this, it would have been the perfect thing to say, what was I thinking? There are too many times I sit around and think about what I did or didn't say and wish I could go back and fix it.
Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. Mark 13:11 NIV
Jesus was speaking about what to do whenever we are put on trial and have to give an answer. I think this is exactly what was going on with Paul. He was being put on trial and was trusting on the Holy Spirit to give him the exact words to say and was saying exactly what he should have said. Saying what he said could have well been all in God's plan, fulfilling God's purpose and Paul was willing to say and do whatever that was. So far I have never been on trial but I have been in spots where I needed to give an answer. It seems like a good plan is to practice always being prepared to give an answer and the best way to do that is to continually be in the word and constantly being in communication with Jesus and by doing that we can develope a readiness for whatever situation we find ourselves in.
I have a couple dogs that seem to think it's time to get up and eat every morning at 3:00, somethings they let me sleep in till 4 but I have found that this is the perfect time to start off my day reading scripture and preparing for whatever is coming up for the day. Sometimes I'll read something that really speaks to me and it's great to just sit and think about it and listen for what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me. Some days I have to be honest and say I just go to the couch and recline and go back to sleep. Whichever way it goes and it does go both ways, I try to hear what God is saying to me. It's amazing to me how much better prepared I am to meet with people throughout the day when I have first met with Jesus and then focus on what He is saying to me.
by Ken Edgerly