25: 24 Festus said, “King Agrippa, and all you gentlemen here present with us, you see this man about whom all the people of the Jews appealed to me, both at Jerusalem and here, loudly declaring that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death; and since he himself appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him. 26 Yet I have nothing definite about him to write to my lord. Therefore I have brought him before you all and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the investigation has taken place, I may have something to write. 27 For it seems absurd to me in sending a prisoner, not to indicate also the charges against him.”
When you back up and look at the Bible as a whole not many stories are very long. The Bible is concise. Accounts are short. Knowing that, it is remarkable how long the account is of Paul and his imprisonment. He was arrested way back in chapter 21. Chapter 25 is over and the saga still goes on. It does make a person ask "Why?" What does God want us to get from this? I can assure you it was not written down simply for historical purposes. When God had men write these things down it was for the direct benefit of those who would come after.
So let's recap:
Paul was a Christian who was seen as an enemy by his own fellow believers in Jerusalem. So much so that they collaborated with the Jews who hated Christ to get rid of him. All the fury was based on false gossip built up over the years Paul was travelling and preaching/teaching in Greece and Asia.
Like Jesus, Paul became public enemy number one even though he was innocent of any wrong doing. Like Jesus he was handed over to the Romans. Like Jesus they couldn't find anything wrong with him yet for political reasons would not declare him innocent and release him. Unlike Jesus, he was not killed but rather kept under arrest for over two years now. During that time the governor Felix talked with him many times about Jesus but never had the integrity to release him. Finally a new governor has come but not much has changed.
Let's let Festus describe the situation in his own words to the visiting King Agrippa: "...the Jews appealed to me, both at Jerusalem and here, loudly declaring that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death..."
"For it seems absurd to me in sending a prisoner, not to indicate also the charges against him.”
Absurd is Festus' word, not mine. It is an excellent word choice though. For over two years Paul has been held as a prisoner and still those who hold him can't find any reason to hold him yet he is still being held. The irony is that the man who is currently using the word absurd is the one who is being absurd. If you have found him innocent let him go. That would be justice... justice is his job.
So back to the bigger question. Why does God want us to know this story so well? Why have 5 chapters been dedicated to it with more to come?
Jesus told His disciples "They will hate you because they first hated Me...They will drag you before rulers and Kings because of Me... You will be hated by all nations for My names sake."
We usually think of two sides in a conflict yet in the case of Jesus all sides, even sworn enemies came together to oppose Jesus. Unity is generally a positive word yet in the case of Jesus everyone was united but it wasn't good.
In the case of Paul the Jews were all united to get rid of him and the Romans supported them more than opposing them for political reasons.
Is God trying to tell us something? Is He sending us advance warning that in the future all will unite against an innocent few? The book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible talks about a great political power rising up at the end of time. The Bible says it will be a unifying power. The world for a short time will become one all except for a few who remain, like Jesus and Paul, true servants of God.
Revelation 12 tells us Satan is behind it all. He has an intense hatred for Jesus and for anyone who stands with Him. It is his determined purpose to eradicate them from the earth. European history is stained with the blood of millions who died innocent at the hands of unified men intent on their destruction.
Where is the good news in all of this? Jesus is alive. Just as His mistreatment was a foreshadowing so was His resurrection.