The Law In Action
Gracious Lord, You are the Divine Potter in my life. Today is in Your hands. Teach me and lead me.
Read Acts 25:1-22
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Is today going to be an active day, or just a reactive day for you? Consider how you’ll live it for Christ.
Festus, the successor to Felix, is a much more efficient figure. Instead of keeping Paul locked up in what we might call protective custody, he decides to push things along; “justice delayed is justice denied,” the saying goes. He is also under pressure from the chief priests of the Jews whom he governs. They are after a favor: to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem. This may have been just to get publicity for their capital, but it turns out to be so that they could get a hit squad after Paul. But Festus is no Pilate. He asserts his own wishes for justice over those of the subjects (16), and seems strong enough to deal with any backlash. He is willing to grant the Jewish leaders a favor, but once Paul appeals to the emperor, that’s where he goes.
We can reflect on this story in two ways: First, it’s often seen as part of God’s providential plan to get Paul to Rome, to witness in the heart of the Roman Empire. Second, it is also one of the many examples in the New Testament of honest people of power and influence acting with integrity. We know how important they are to the way our countries run, and what chaos ensues when the culture of honesty and public service is not dominant. When Paul in his letter to the Romans calls us to be subject to the “governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1), he is probably thinking of people like Festus. Perhaps, like me, when you pray for your political leaders, you sometimes have to bite your lip when you disagree with what they’re doing. It might be better to simply pray for all in authority, including your local judges and your boss at work, that they will be energized to act with integrity and justice.
Make a plan to pray regularly for those in authority. Make those prayers as specific and as honest as you can.
Lord, sometimes I allow partisan politics to influence my prayers. Forgive me, and help me pray for all those in authority, that they may serve with integrity and justice.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.