Friday, September 10, 2010

the Judge behind the judge

Acts, chapter 25, finds Paul still held by the Roman governor of Judea.  However, there has been a change in governors, and now Porcius Festus has replaced Felix.  The Jews had despised Felix and petitioned Rome for a replacement.  Apparently he had been very brutal toward them.  Rome responded...apparently they wanted to preserve peace in Judea.  But man can have a different view of peace than God.  From Rome's point of view, peace was the absence of rebellion and the acceptance of their rule.  They wanted to extend power and extract wealth and minimizing disruption from the locals was key.  Man also has a form of justice and the Romans had certain rules of justice.  Note Acts 25:16 To them I (Festus) answered, "It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning this charge against him."  It is interesting that the Jews who were so eager to see Paul judged for crimes and violations he had not committed had no problem plotting his murder.  Acts 25:2-3 Then the high priest and the chief men of the Jews...petitioned him, asking a favor against him, that he would summon him (Paul) to Jerusalem-while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him.  But God intervened and preserved Paul because His ways and His purposes are high above and greater than the ways of men.  We like to think that we have peace, and we have proper government and we have justice.  But the motives of men thwart the implementation of these institutions.   Just as God delivered Paul from the murderous intentions of the Jews to complete His mission to Rome, so he will ultimately deliver his people from the aritificial peace and postured justice of this world.  That is because there is justice and there is peace and there is proper authority...but its source is Heaven, from the true throne of God...and not from any institution spawned from men.
Rob Smith

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