Festus answered, "Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong." After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove. Then Paul made his defense: "I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar." Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?"
Thoughts for Today:Festus was kind of between a rock and a hard place. Paul had been in prison for over two years, yet when confronted the Jews could not prove any of the charges they had brought against him. From a legal (and fairness) point of view Festus should have released Paul immediately. Instead, wanting to appease the Jews he asks Paul if he will go to Jerusalem to stand trial -- rather than admitting his predecessor was wrong he thereby compounds the problem. Perhaps in some strange way Festus thought he was doing the right thing.
Like Festus if our decisions seem complicated and convoluted, it can be because we've allowed a selfish influence to affect our decision making process. Sometimes pressure comes from the outside, but most of the time it springs from the desire to protect our own interests. Festus thought he was negotiating a win/win settlement. If Paul agreed, the Jews got what they wanted, and Festus would rule over a very happy constituency. I wonder if he thought or cared about what might happen to Paul? Sounds like it was really win/win/lose to me.
Questions to Ponder:The next time you have a difficult decision to make, place the facts outside of your own interests. Without considering what the best outcome for you personally might be, what seems to be best for all parties? Is your decision becoming clouded by what you want? Will anyone be hurt? What is the right decision even if it is not the most beneficial to you?