A Roman trial began with a preliminary examination to formulate the precise charge against the prisoner. When Paul was brought to that preliminary examination, not one of his friends stood by him. It was too dangerous to proclaim oneself the friend of a man on trial for his life.
One of the curious things about this passage is the number of references to Psalm 22. "Why hast thou forsaken me? "all forsook me." "There is none to help-no one was there to stand by me." "Dominion belongs to the Lord-The Lord will save me for His heavenly kingdom." It seems certain that the words of this Psalm were running in Paul's mind. And the lovely thing is that this was the Psalm that was in the mind of Jesus when he hung upon the Cross. As Paul faced death, he encouraged his heart with the same Psalm as his Lord used in the same situation.
Three things brought Paul courage in that lonely hour:
(1) All men had forsaken him, but the Lord was with him. Jesus said that He would never leave His own or forsake them and that He would be with them to the end of the world. Paul is a witness that Jesus kept His promise. If to do the right means to be alone, as Joan of Arc said, "It is better to be alone with God."
(2) Paul would use even a Roman court to proclaim the message of Jesus. He obeyed his own commandment; in season and out of season he pressed the claims of Jesus on men. He was so busy thinking of the task of preaching that he forgot the danger. A man who is immersed in his task has conquered fear.
(3) He was quite certain of the ultimate rescue. In time he might seem to be the victim of circumstances and a criminal condemned at the bar of Roman justice, but Paul saw beyond time and knew that his eternal safety was assured. It is always better to be in danger for a moment and safe for eternity than to be safe for a moment and in danger for eternity.
Make your choice now for eternity.
Dear Father, I know that You know my future and eternity and I want You to guide me in everything I do. I don't want to miss Heaven with You and everyone else who will be there. Amen!