At the beginning of Acts Chapter 25, Festus visited Jerusalem. While there, the officials and high priest of the Jews relayed stories to him regarding Paul. This Jewish pack was out to kill him.
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They asked for Festus’ assistance in delivering Paul to them. Festus refused to be a party to this because he wanted to first go to Caesarea to allow Paul his chance to tell his own side of the story.
Paul States His Case
After his arrival in Caesarea, Festus assumed a judgment seat and listened to the Jews make many grave grievances against Paul. He then called Paul before him to hear his case. Paul ardently defended his position and swore he had done nothing to offend Caesar or the Jews.
He went on to proclaim that if he was guilty as charged, he had no problem with dying. He further stated that unless his accusers could prove their case, he had no time for their harsh words. Instead, Paul requested an opportunity to plead his case directly to Caesar.
Festus Agrees with Paul
Festus agreed with Paul regarding his right to stand directly before Caesar, but he said it would take some time to make it possible. In the meantime, Bernice and King Agrippa visited Caesarea to meet with Festus. Eventually, Festus related Paul’s story to the king. He told him of this man named Jesus who had died, but whom Paul insisted was alive. The king was interested to hear this tale directly from Paul and asked Festus to summon him the next day.
Festus Prepares the Meeting
Festus ensured that all the important citizens of Caesarea would be present as well as all the town’s commanders. He introduced Paul to this audience as the man the Jews wanted to kill. Festus fervently defended Paul, but stated that since Paul had requested a personal visit with Caesar, he would write to him on Paul’s behalf.
Acts Chapter 25 ends with Festus realizing that the meeting would be significant so he would have something to tell Caesar in letter he was going to write. He wanted Caesar to be aware of all the circumstances relating to Paul’s case prior to sending the prisoner to appear before him.
Acts 25 (King James Version)
1 Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
2 Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
3 And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.
4 But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
5 Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.
6 And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
7 And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.
8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
9 But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?
10 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.
12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
13 And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.
14 And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul’s cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix:
15 About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.
16 To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
17 Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth.
18 Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed:
19 But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
20 And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.
21 But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.
22 Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.
23 And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus’ commandment Paul was brought forth.
24 And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
25 But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.
26 Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
27 For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.