Acts 24-26

As Paul is on trial at several different locations the case is delayed for a ridiculous amount of time.  It would appear that justice has been shortchanged and Paul is the victim of politics.   That is, until you consider that this is exactly how Jesus wanted it to play out.
As I read about the travesty of justice that is unfolding in Paul’s case I begin to become angry with Felix, Festus and Agrippa.   After all, these learned men each knew that Paul was innocent and that these charges were trumped…but they bent to the will of the wicked priests.   What a tragedy.
But wait…I understand that Jesus was crucified for crimes that He did not commit, and I don’t think that was a tragedy….that was a world wide blessing.   If that’s the case, then why should Paul’s be any different?    Is Paul guilty?  No.   But what does that have to do with anything?   God wants Paul to witness for Him in Rome, and that’s where Paul is going.   What the world thinks of him is a distant second…maybe third place in importance.   I marvel at the way God moves His people around to perform His will.   Being accused, brought up on charges or even prison are not a problem for God.   God has used many righteous people around in this way.    It’s a fact worth remembering, I think.
24:5   So the term “Nazarene” is almost as old as “Christian”
24-25   it’s clear that the Jewish leaders were actively making plans to kill Paul without being found guilty.   I wonder how they justified this, knowing the commandment “do not kill”.    How did they justify telling lies to the Romans, trying to get Paul in trouble.   These guys are the example of the very thing they claim to be trying to stamp out….false teaching.    
25   Paul appeals to Caesar because he knows that God wants him to testify in Rome.   Beating the charges and being found innocent are not his first priority.   Doing what God wants him to do are his first priority.
Here’s a couple of things that I found out reading up on this passge:   Herod Agrippa I  (King Agrippa) is the great grandson of Herod the Great.  He was 
“King” over a territory that included part of Syria, and Jerusalem.  However, his authority was had certain restrictions, so he wasn’t a king in the proper sense that  “whatever he says becomes the law”.     Agrippa has 4 sisters, we see two of them in today’s reading.  Drusilla, the wife of Felix is Agrippa’s sister.    So Berenice (who travels with Agrippa) and Drusilla were sisters.  It’s all part of a cozy “ruling class”.    
Drusilla died in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. 
Agrippa was a close friend of Josephus, who was a jewish historian (very famous in church circles for providing details that aren’t in the Bible).    Josephus recorded the same rumor that was popular in Agrippa’s day….that Agrippa and his sister Berenice were actually lovers.  (yuck).
Agrippa was a Jew, and identified with the Jewish people…that’s why Paul was so comfortable speaking plainly with him.   But in subsequent years the Jews would begin to rebel against Rome, and Agrippa eventually couldn’t talk them out of it.   He cared about the Jews, but in the end, he sided with Rome and was rewarded handsomely after the rebellion was put down.    
One of the things I marvel at in this passage is the simplicity of Paul’s message.   I’m sure he went into more detail than we have recorded, but Luke (who wrote Acts) didn’t feel that any of it was so compelling that it had to be recorded.   Paul simply told the truth about what was happening to him.  He shared from the heart his concern for the Jews, his passion for the Gospel and his love for Jesus Christ.    It got him into trouble, but it also got him a reward in heaven.
Thinking of Luke…did he spend two years close to Paul while he was incarcerated in Caesarea?   He must have traveled to Rome with him?     Friends and ministry companions like this are hard to come by, and should be highly valued.    I wonder….whatever happened to Luke?