Hello! Today we pick right back up where we left off with Paul on trial still but this time with a new procurator, Porcius Festus. Today is a bit of a tragic reading as Paul in a state of fear for his life makes an appeal to the most powerful man in the world. But will that be good for Paul, or no? Those familiar with Paul's journey might know the answer to that but for the rest of us we need to keep on reading. I think you will really enjoy today's reading. It feels like a very intelligent conversation between very intelligent people. While the angry crowd might have demanded Paul's death right away the conversation Paul has with the lawyers and leaders of his faith is thoughtful and again, tragic. There's a desperation to Paul's voice instead of the usual zealous belief found earlier. I really like Luke's writing ability. What about this scene is meaningful to you? Let's find out!
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about Paul?
What does this teach me about the relationship between Rome and Jerusalem?
What does this teach me about the earliest systems of justice? How do they differ from today? How are they similar?
- Commentary -
Festus' office began around 59 CE during the 5th year of Nero's rule over Rome. Festus wasn't nearly as bad as Felix but did inherit much of his administration's problems such as an increasing tension between the Jewish and Roman people. This helps to offer some context for what would lead to the Roman-Jewish war in 66 CE. One of the biggest recorded problems for Festus was a wall that was erected by the Jews in the Jerusalem temple that was designed to block the view of Aggrippa's new wing on his palace who was quite offended that the priests would do such a thing. While the Jewish people were a theocracy (government and religion were mixed) at the time you can start to see some of the rejection of political moves by the religious leaders, no doubt caused by what felt like a betrayal that Aggrippa was "in bed" with Rome so to say. While the Biblical account might make Festus' seem like a bad guy for wanting to please the Jews I'm hoping that this additional context about what his office was facing helps to show his actions were much more diplomatic than oppressive even if Paul takes the fall for it.
Praying the Hymns
Our prayer for today is inspired by hymn 289 because once again I was a dumb dumb that put day hymn 291 on day 289. I must have been tired and confused that day I did those two blogs! haha. So, I invite you to reflect upon hymn "Ah, Holy Jesus" a song of lament for our failings that Christ took for the fall for.
1. Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended, that we to judge thee have in hate pretended? By foes derided, by thine own rejected, O most afflicted!
2. Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee? Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee! 'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee; I crucified thee.
3. Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered; the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered. For our atonement, while we nothing heeded, God interceded.
4. For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation, thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation; thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion, for my salvation.
5. Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee, I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee, think on thy pity and thy love unswerving, not my deserving.