Acts 25

Acts Chapter 25

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Acts 25

Acts 25:1-12

Acts 25:13-27 King Agrippa and Bernice
ACTS 25:1  1 Now when Festus had come to the province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem.

Who was "Festus" (Acts 25:1) and why had he come to "the province" (Acts 25:1)?
Two years after Paul began his 'imprisonment' in Caesarea, the Roman governor Felix put down a Jewish uprising with such brutality that the Jewish Sanhedrin complained bitterly to Rome. As a result, Felix was recalled to Rome and Porcius Festus had just arrived in the Roman "province" (Acts 25:1) of Judea as its new governor.

How long after his arrival in Caesarea did Festus visit Jerusalem?
Only "three days" (Acts 25:1), perhaps underscoring his eagerness to start on good terms with the people he needed to govern.

ACTS 25:2-3  2 Then the high priest and the chief men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they petitioned him, 3 asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem - while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him.

What did "the high priest and the chief men of the Jews" (Acts 15:2) ask Festus to do?
"Summon" (Acts 25:3) Paul from Caesarea to Jerusalem.

Why?
To lay an "ambush along the road to kill him" (Acts 25:3), dusting off the shelf their failed murderous plot from two years prior.

What does the Jews seeking this "favor" (Acts 25:3) from Festus at this time say about Paul's ministry in Judea?
Had his ministry in Judea from the protection of the Roman Praetorium in Caesarea not been fruitful during his two year confinement, engineering his murder is unlikely to have topped the Jews' agenda upon meeting their new Roman governor.

ACTS 25:4-6  4 But Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was going there shortly. 5 “Therefore,” he said, “let those who have authority among you go down with me and accuse this man, to see if there is any fault in him.” 6 And when he had remained among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day, sitting on the judgment seat, he commanded Paul to be brought.

Why did Festus answer "that Paul should be kept at Caesarea" (Acts 25:4)?
It wasn't because Festus didn't want to wait in Jerusalem for Paul to arrive, for he stayed there anyway for "more than ten days" (Acts 25:6), which is more than enough time for a detachment of Roman cavalry to fetch Paul from Caesarea. During the "three days" (Acts 25:1) he spent in Caesarea before coming to Jerusalem, Festus could have been informed about the Jews' previous plot to murder Paul. Ultimately, it was God's will to thwart the Jews' plot against Paul.

ACTS 25:7-8  7 When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove, 8 while he answered for himself, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all."

Who followed Festus from Jerusalem to Caesarea?
"The Jews who ... laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove." (Acts 25:7)

What crimes did their "complaints" (Acts 25:7) accuse Paul of having committed?
Based on Paul's denials, they accused him of breaking "the laws of the Jews" (Acts 25:8), desecrating "the temple" (Acts 25:8) in Jerusalem and sedition "against Caesar" (Acts 25:8).

ACTS 25:9  9 But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?”

What was the logic behind Festus' proposal to Paul?
The case already had been heard in Caesarea, so there was no logic for Festus to move the trial several days journey away to Jerusalem and then render his verdict. While he "had some questions" (Acts 25:19, see King Agrippa and Bernice), he was also "wanting to do the Jews a favor" (Acts 25:9) by asking the question.

ACTS 25:10  10 So Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know.

Did Paul know that Festus knew he was innocent?
"To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know." (Acts 25:10)

ACTS 25:11  11 “For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”

Why did Paul appeal to "Caesar's judgment seat" (Acts 25:10)?
Having been sent from Jerusalem to Caesarea because the Jews had plotted his murder, Paul most probably knew that mischief was behind their desire to get him back to Jerusalem. More importantly, Rome was where Jesus wanted him to go next - "Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome" (Acts 23:11) - and this appeal would provide him a free voyage to Rome, complete with a Roman military escort. Thirdly, as a Roman citizen, Paul had the legal right to appeal to have his case heard by Caesar himself.

ACTS 25:12  12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you shall go.”

With which "council" (Acts 25:12) did Festus confer?
Not the Jewish council of Sanhedrin, for its members were the plaintiffs against Paul. Festus conferred with the body of men chosen from the leading Romans in Caesarea to serve as his advisors.

What did Festus and his council think of Paul's appeal?
It was justified: "You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you shall go." (Acts 25:12)

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