22:17-23:35 – A Jew, ‘praying in the temple’ at ‘Jerusalem’, Paul was obedient to God’s call – ‘I will send you far away to the Gentiles’ (22:17,21). The racists would not hear of this – ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he ought not to live’ (22:22). This was not simply dislike for Paul. This was hatred directed against the God who, in Jesus Christ, offers salvation to all nations. Paul was a ‘Roman citizen’ (22:25-29). God was protecting Paul for his future ministry – ‘you must bear witness also at Rome’ (23:11). Paul was giving his own testimony when he wrote the words, ‘All things work together for good to those who love God’ (Romans 8:28). Serving the Lord is never easy. Sometimes, it can be very difficult. When we face violent opposition, we draw our strength from God’s Word – ‘Take courage’ (23:10-11).
24:1-27 – Paul did not abandon the teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures – ‘I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets (14). He read the Old Testament. It led him to Christ. Paul’s great theme was ‘faith in Christ Jesus’ (24). Paul speaks. Jesus is speaking through him. Jesus did ‘not come to abolish the law and the prophets’. He came ‘to fulfil them’. ‘Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, Jesus interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself’ (Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:27). God has spoken ‘through the prophets’. God has spoken through His Son’ (Hebrews 1:1-2). We read the Old Testament. We learn from ‘Moses’ and ‘Elijah’. They step back. We see ‘Jesus, only’. He is God’s ‘beloved Son’. We ‘listen to Him’ (Matthew 17:3,8,5).
25:1-27 – Paul stood before Festus as an accused man. Festus listened. Recognizing his own shortcomings and respecting the accused wishes, he gave Paul a fair hearing (20-21,25). Festus made no decision – ‘I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him’ (26). Jesus was ‘dead’. Now, He is ‘alive’ (19). This is not just ‘something to think about’. We must make our decision. There can be no ‘sitting on the fence’. Some are indecisive – ‘I have nothing definite to say about Jesus’. It’s ‘make up your mind’ time – ‘How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?’ (Hebrews 2:3). Festus had to make a decision about Paul. There is a more important question: ‘What do you think of the Christ?’ Each of us must answer the question: ‘What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ (Matthew 22:42; 27:22).