Have you heard of Festus? Read Acts 25 (13-22).

Little is known about this man except that he was very different from his predecessor Felix, in that his governorship was neither corrupt nor oppressive and he seems to have had a real concern for Roman justice. One thing we can say for certain about Festus is that he appears to have been totally ignorant of spiritual concerns and that he did not have the slightest understanding of matters relating to God.

Here was Paul at his trial testifying with deep sincerity to his Christian faith and the power of Christ's resurrection, and Festus says to Agrippa in effect: "You know, I hadn't a clue what the man was on about. Quite frankly, I couldn't care less about religious disputes. After all, I lead a very busy life running this difficult country and I have plenty of disputes and problems of my own to occupy my time." And in Chapter 26 (verse 24) we have this outburst from Festus: "You are out of your mind, Paul... your great learning is driving you insane." As he saw it, Paul was suffering from some kind of religious mania since, in his thinking, anyone who could get excited about God's power to raise the dead and about matters relating to heaven must necessarily be dismissed as a crank. In this respect, Festus represents many in our modern world today.

There are tens of thousands like him in our society suffering from a total inability to comprehend anything of a truly spiritual nature. Often they are kind, intelligent, morally upright people. But they all have one thing in common, they are totally devoid of any interest in the things of God. To get excited and enthusiastic about sport and politics is perfectly in order, but let them see that you are excited about God and, like Festus, they will think that you are mad. How are we to deal with the Festus's of this world? We must never be tempted to give up on them. They are not in such a hopeless condition that they cannot be delivered.

This week's thought: God hides things by putting them near.