Day 146: Understanding but not Believing

Acts 25:13-22 :

Now when some days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea, and greeted Festus. As he stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix; about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, asking for a sentence against him. To whom I answered that it is not the custom of the Romans to give up any man to destruction, before the accused has met the accusers face to face, and has had opportunity to make his defense concerning the matter laid against him. When therefore they had come together here, I didn’t delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought. Concerning whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no charge of such things as I supposed; but had certain questions against him about their own religion, and about one Jesus, who was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. Being perplexed how to inquire concerning these things, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters. But when Paul had appealed to be kept for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be kept until I could send him to Caesar.”

Agrippa said to Festus, “I also would like to hear the man myself.”

“Tomorrow,” he said, “you shall hear him.”

It is clear in this passage that Festus understood the injustice going on as well as the fact that what Paul spoke of was based on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It is also clear that Festus didn’t believe because he flatly stated (without any evidence) that Jesus “was dead.”

Festus represents the state of all of us at one point or another. We naturally assume that lies are the truth based on our own, tainted, worldview. A mysterious thing about the truth is that it must be interpreted from a truthful worldview in order to be understood. You can’t stand outside of truth and consider it because the act of standing outside, taints it. This is another way of saying that we cannot understand the truth unless God allows us to enter into it first. Without His help, we will continue to travel down our own paths of lies and inconsistencies as Festus did here. As a result, Festus remained “perplexed how to inquire concerning these things.”

Notice how many leaders Paul was able to speak to about the resurrection of Jesus as Paul continues to fulfill the prophesy of Jesus in Luke 12:11-12.