Acts 25:1-12 (web)

Paul's Trial by Festus

25:1 Festus therefore, having come into the province,
after three days went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. 
25:2 Then the high priest and the principal men of the Jews 
informed him against Paul, and they begged him, 
25:3 asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem;
plotting to kill him on the way. 

25:4 However Festus answered that Paul should be kept in custody at Caesarea, 
and that he himself was about to depart shortly. 
25:5 "Let them therefore," said he, "that are in power among you go down with me, 
and if there is anything wrong in the man, let them accuse him." 
25:6 When he had stayed among them more than ten days,
he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he sat on the judgment seat, 
and commanded Paul to be brought. 
25:7 When he had come,
the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, 
bringing against him many and grievous charges which they could not prove
25:8 while he said in his defense,
"Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple,
nor against Caesar, have I sinned at all." 
25:9 But Festus, desiring to gain favor with the Jews, answered Paul and said, 
"Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem,
and be judged by me there concerning these things?" 
25:10 But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's judgment seat,
where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, 
as you also know very well. 
25:11 For if I have done wrong, and have committed anything worthy of death,
I don't refuse to die; but if none of those things is true that they accuse me of,
no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar!" 
25:12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered,
"You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you shall go." 


Interesting that even after two years of Paul being locked up in prison the Jews were still trying to kill him. Apparently he was still exerting influence on the growth of Christianity even imprisoned. One's fruitfulness is not necessarily proportional to one's freedom. Much has been accomplished by those with limited resources and limited freedoms.

Festus was less aware of the situation with Paul than Felix. For to send him to Jerusalem meant death one way or another. His trial of Paul seems unprejudiced. Though the Jews falsely accused him, it appears that the testimony they offered was not reckoned proof of itself but simply allegations. Being tried by a Roman Paul made the point of not having offended against Caesar. Interesting that it was possible to live the Christian life under an oppressive pagan system of government and yet not offend. Christianity is not a political movement. It does not advocate any particular form of government. And it certainly does not incite rebellion against the established government. (Contrary to the claims of Liberation Theology) Yes at times there will be conflicts such as when Caesar insists he be worshipped as a god, but such cases arise only when the authorities go outside their legitimate realm of authority. 

Paul operates within the Roman system of government under which God had placed him. Appealing to Caesar was not contrary to the Christian faith, for Caesar had been appointed as a legitimate authority figure by God. His appeal to Caesar was right in line with the Lord's direction in Acts 23 "for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome." Thus Paul finally played this trump card exerting his right as a Roman citizen in order to fulfill the Lord's purpose.

Paul appears also to be a death penalty advocate as he reveals in verse 11. And so also does the thief on the cross who said, "We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve." Luke 23:41 And while the Law of Moses of course also advocates the death penalty, yet what is interesting in these cases is that they are exercised not under a Mosaic Theocracy, but rather under a pagan system of government in accordance with their laws. 

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jan 28,2022