[The leading priests and other Jewish leaders] asked Festus as a favor to transfer Paul to Jerusalem (planning to ambush and kill him on the way). But Festus replied that Paul was at Caesarea and he himself would be returning there soon. So he said, "Those of you in authority can return with me. If Paul has done anything wrong, you can make your accusations."
— Acts 25:3-5 NLT
Earlier, a group of more than forty men had plotted to kill Paul in Jerusalem (Acts 23:12-35). The Jewish leaders had not forgotten that plan and were now contriving to have Paul transferred back to Jerusalem so they could kill him on the way. They apparently assumed he would have less protection on the return trip to Jerusalem than when he was taken to Caesarea (Acts 23:23-24). With the change in leadership from Felix to Festus, these leaders seized their moment to try again to get rid of Paul. Festus, however, was a wise leader and did not fall for the schemes of Paul's enemies. Paul was a Roman citizen with special rights, and Festus would not allow proper justice to be perverted. God used Festus to protect Paul and his ministry by Festus following proper legal procedures. Paul's situation in prison all this time saved his life and became God's method of delivering Paul to Rome and the ministry God had planned for him there. In addition to Paul's ministry to people in Rome, he was able to write letters to strengthen churches and church leaders while under Roman arrest that God used for Paul's protection and transportation to Rome.*
Father in heaven, as I see Paul's story unfold, I am touched, amazed, and encouraged. I see how you used Paul's difficult situation and his faith in Jesus to bless churches and lead others to Christ. Forgive me when I whine and complain about the difficulties of life or use my challenges as an excuse for not sharing Jesus with others. I see Paul's courage, conviction, and faith and ask that you grow these characteristics in me. Rather than being afraid, I want to be strong and courageous, because I know you are with me as you were with Paul.** I thank you and ask for your forgiveness and help in Jesus' name. Amen.