Story Seventeen

 •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 6
WHEN Fĕś tus came to rule over the land of Jū-dḗ ȧ in the place of Fḗ lĭx, who had kept Pa̤ul in prison so long, he went up to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm to visit that city. There the chief priests and the leading men spoke to him against Pa̤ul, and they asked that he might be sent to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm to be tried. It was their plan to kill Pa̤ul on the way. But Fĕś tus told them that Pa̤ul should be kept at Cæs-a-rḗ ȧ, and that he himself would soon go there.
"Let some of your leaders go down with me," said Fĕś tus, "and bring your charges against him, if you have any.”
When Fĕś tus came down to Cæs-a-rḗ a, he called them all together, and sat upon the judge's seat, and commanded Pa̤ul to be brought. Then the Jews̝ said evil things about Pa̤ul, declaring that he had done wickedly. But they could not prove any of the things which they spoke against him. And Pa̤ul said, "I have done no wrong against the law of the Jews̝, nor against the Temple, nor against the rule of Cǽ s̝ar the emperor.”
Fĕś tus wished to please the Jews̝, for he did not know of their secret purpose to kill Pa̤ul. He said, "Are you willing to go up to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm, and there be tried upon these charges before me?”
But Pa̤ul said, "I am standing before the Rṓ man court where I ought to be judged. I have done no wrong to the Jew, as thou knowest very well, and no man shall give me into their hands. I ask for a trial before Cǽ s̝ar, the emperor at Rōme.”
It was the law throughout the Rṓ man lands that any citizen of Rōme, as Pa̤ul was, could ask to be tried at Rōme before Cǽ s̝ar?, the emperor. When Fĕś tus heard Pa̤ul's words, he said, "Do you ask to be tried before Cǽ s̝ar? Then unto Cǽ s̝ar you shall go.”
So Pa̤ul was taken back to the prison at Cæs-a-rḗ ȧ to be sent to Rōme when his time should come. A few days after this a Jewish ruler named Ā̇-griṕ pȧ, with his sister Be͂r-nī́ cē̇, came to visit Fĕś tus. He was called "King Ā̇-grĭṕ pȧ," and he ruled over a part of the land on the east of the river Jôŕ dan. While Ā̇-grĭṕ pȧ, and Be͂ŕ nī́ cē̇ were at Cæs-a-rḗ ȧ, Fĕś tus said to them, " There is a certain man left a prisoner by Fḗ lĭx, of whom the chief priests and elders of the Jews̝ asked, when, I was at Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm that I should give orders to have him put to death, or given into their hands. I told them that the Rṓ mans never give judgment against any man until he stands face to face before his enemies, and can make answer to their charges. When they came down to this place, and the man was brought before them, their charges were not the wicked acts that I expected to hear of; but they had some questions about their ways of worship, and 'about somebody named Jesus, who was dead, but who Pa̤ul said was alive. As I could not understand these questions, I asked Pa̤ul whether he would go up to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm, and there be tried. But Pa̤ul asked for a trial before Cǽ s̝ar, and I am keeping him to be sent to the emperor at Rōme.”
"I would like," said Ā̇-grĭṕ pȧ, "to hear this man myself." "To-morrow," said Fĕś tus, "you shall hear him.”
So on the next day, Ā̇-grĭṕ pȧ and his sister Be͂r-nī́ cē̇, and Fĕś tus, with the chief men of the city and the officers of the army, came in great state to the hall of judgment, and Pa̤ul was brought before them, chained to a Rṓ man soldier. And after a few words by Fĕś tus, Ā̇-grĭṕ pȧ, said to Pa̤ul, "You may now speak for yourself.”
Then Pa̤ul spoke in words like these:
"I think myself happy, King Ā̇-grĭṕ pȧ, to give answer before thee of all the things charged against me by the Jews̝, because I am sure that thou dost know all the Jeẃ ĭsh ways and the questions about the law. I ask thee, then, to hear me. My way of life from my youth all the Jews̝ know, for I have lived among them; and if they tell the truth, they would say that I was of those who kept the laws of our people most carefully. And now I stand here to be judged for the sake of the promise which God made to our fathers; that promise to which our twelve tribes, serving God day and night, hope to come. And on account of this hope, O king, the Jews̝ charge me with doing evil; because I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead to be the King of Ĭś̝ ra-el. Why should it be something thou canst not believe, that God does raise the dead to life?
"In former times I really thought with myself that I ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of Năź a-rĕth. And this I did in Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm; for I shut up many good men and women in prisons, and when they were put to death I gave my voice against them. I caused them to be beaten, and I tried to make them curse the name of Jesus; and being exceedingly mad against them, I sought for them even in cities far away.
"And as I journeyed to Dā̇-măś cus with letters from the chief priests, at mid-day, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining around me and those who were with me. And as we all fell down upon the ground, I heard a voice saying to me, 'Sa̤ul, Sa̤ul, why are you fighting against me?'
"And I said, 'Who art thou, Lord?'
"And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are trying to destroy. But rise up, and stand upon your feet, for I have shown myself to you to make you my servant and my messenger to tell of what you have seen, and of what I will show you. I will keep you safe from the Jeẃ ĭsh people and from the Ġĕń tīles̝, to whom I send you, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Sā́ tan, the evil one, to God, that their sins may be forgiven, and that they may receive a reward among those that are made holy by faith in me.
"O King Ā̇-grĭṕ pȧ, I did not disobey the voice from heaven, but first at Dā̇-măs-cus, and then at Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm, and throughout all the land of Jū-dḗ ȧ, and also among the Ġĕń tīles̝, I have spoken, telling men to turn from sin to God, and to show deeds of right-doing. This is the cause why the Jews̝ seized me in the Temple and tried to kill me. Having gained help from God, I stand unto this day, speaking to people, small and great, saying only what is given in the law of Mṓ s̝es̝ and in the prophets: that the Christ must suffer and die, and that he by rising from the dead should give light to our people and to the Ġĕń tīles̝.”
While Pa̤ul was speaking, Fĕś tus said with a loud voice, "Pa̤ul, you are mad! Your great learning has turned you to madness!”
For Fĕś tus, being a Rṓ man, knew nothing of Jesus or of the truths which Pa̤ul spoke.
But Pa̤ul said to him, "I am not mad, most noble Fĕś tus. I speak only sober and truthful words. The king knows of these things, and I speak freely to him. None of these things are hidden from him, for these things were not done in secret. King Ā̇-grĭṕ pa, dost thou believe the prophets? I know that thou dost believe.”
And Ā̇-grĭṕ pȧ said to Pa̤ul, "A little more, and you will persuade me to become a Christian!”
And Pa̤ul said, "I would before God, that whether with little or with much, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except these chains!”
After these words, King Ā̇-grĭṕ pȧ, and Be͂ŕ nī́ cē̇, and Fĕś tus the governor, and those who were there, went away by themselves, and they said to each other, "This man has done nothing deserving death or prison.”
And Ā̇-grĭṕ pȧ said to Fĕś tus, "This man might have been set free if he had not asked to be tried before Cǽ s̝ar.”
Lesson 43. Paul a Prisoner.
(Tell Stories 15, 16 and 17 in Part Seventh.)
1. What happened to Paul while he was worshipping God in the temple at Jerusalem? He was taken by his enemies.
2. What did these enemies of Paul try to do? To kill him.
3. Who took Paul out of the hands of his enemies? Roman soldiers.
4. Where was Paul taken to be kept from his enemies? Into the castle.
5. What did the Lord Jesus say to Paul at night while he was in the castle? "Be of good cheer, Paul!”
6. To what place was Paul sent to be safe from the Jews? To Cæsarea.
7. Before what ruler was Paul brought to be tried? Before Felix the governor.
8. How long was Paul kept in prison at Cæsarea? Two years.
9. Before what other governor was Paul brought after two years? Before Festus.
10. What king listened to Paul as he told how Christ had saved him? King Agrippa.