When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.
Thoughts for Today:I must say I have become a bit of a skeptic when it comes to our country's political and judiciary system. Somehow knowing it is the best in the world (as my friend's often tell me) despite its flaws gives me little comfort. For example, it seems government regularly ignores its responsibilities to protect our rights as it seeks to win the political support of special interest groups. What happened to government of the people, by the people, and for the people? What about our constitution? Do our politicians or judges ever read it, or more important abide by it?
I wonder if Paul wasn't becoming a little skeptical about Roman justice as well. Paul was a Roman citizen, yet here he was still in prison, held without a trial for two more years. I would have become a bit agitated to say the least. I hate to admit it, but I might even have become a little upset with God as well, after all Paul was one of God's primary evangelists, so why would God leave him rotting in jail?
Two thousand years later as we look at this event we might come up with some answers: perhaps God was protecting Paul (he was so outspoken the Jews were on a mission to kill him); maybe God wanted to slow Paul down from his mission work long enough so he would write the "prison epistles"; or it could be God knew Paul needed a longer time to recover from injuries suffered during his mission work. We don't know for sure. However, we have the benefit of reflecting on Paul's prison term from our perspective many years later. But at the time, while sitting there for two years, Paul probably felt some impatience toward God, and skepticism with his government regarding justice versus politics. What do you think?
Questions to Ponder:I feel blessed to have been born in this country and at this particular time and age. I can actually write a criticism of government without the threat of imprisonment or death. We have religious freedom as well -- it is truly an incredible gift God has given to us. Unfortunately, when we are in a difficult predicament (like Paul) sometimes its easy to forget how blessed we are. In other words we're angry for what we lack rather than being thankful for what we have. Paul was caught between political factions, and his personal rights as a Roman citizen were being trampled upon. Paul didn't know how or why God would turn his imprisonment to good -- just that He would. This kind of makes any of our personal scenes seem pretty insignificant, doesn't it? Paul trusted God. Am I? Are you? When we trust God, we may not always receive the outcome we think we want, but we always are given the right one.