About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapters 25:1- 22
came from Rome
to replace Felix. Since being
new to the area, he went to Jerusalem, the capital for the Jewish religion. Caesarea
was the capital of Judea as pronounced by Rome, but for centuries
met with the chief priest and Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. We note the words
"chief priests"; priests being plural.
In reality there was only one chief priest.
Luke most likely means the chief priest, along with other
verse 3 Luke says that they "urgently requested" that Paul would
be transferred over to them, as they wanted two years earlier.
The reason for this urgency was the same as it was two years ago.
They would ambush the Roman guards who transferred Paul and kill Paul
before he even got to Jerusalem. Festus did not agree to this
urgent request. He suggested
that they come to
need to remember that two whole long years had past since Paul was taken
learn in verse 3 that the Jews wanted to have Paul's trial in
verse 6 Festus spent eight or ten days in
after two long years, Paul gets a chance to defend himself again in from
of members of the Sanhedrin and Festus, the Roman appointed governor.
verse 9 Paul says, "I have done nothing wrong against the Jews, or
against the temple, or against Caesar".
Three things are mentioned by Paul.
These are the law, the temple, and Caesar.
We might be able to assume these 3 points were in direct relation
to the charges against Paul. As
in the first hearing, 2 years earlier, the Jews charged Paul concerning
speaking against their law and desecrating their temple.
Now they were most likely trying to suggest that Paul was also
doing something against the laws of Caesar.
This third charge would have had more weight than the first 2.
Remember that Paul had been accused in times past of treason
because he preached that Jesus was a King, which would be in direct
opposition to Caesarís Kingship, depending on how you might interpret
Paulís words that Jesus was a king.
verse 9 Luke tells us that Festus wanted to do the Jews a favour, just as
Felix did two years earlier by not releasing Paul.
The governor wanted to keep the Jews happy.
Happy Jews meant fewer problems for the governor.
It meant fewer problems with Caesar. So
Festus asked Paul if he was willing to go to
like Felix was more interested in his own ambition and prosperity.
He did not want trouble with the Jews.
He could have, and should have, dismissed the case on lack of
evidence. But what he does is
give into the Jews by asking Paul if he wanted to go back to Jerusalem
to hear this case. This must
have made the Jews happy. Festus
appeared to be lining himself up on their side. For
Festus, this whole issue was a political issue, not an issue of the law.
refused. He replied, "I
am now standing before Caesarís court where I ought to be tried.
I have not done anything wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know
very well. If however I am
guilty of doing anything deserving of death, I do not refuse to die.
But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true,
no one has the right to hand me over to them.
I appeal to Caesar"!
had two choices. Either he
could go back to
date you might say that Paulís treatment by the Roman governors had been
a gross injustice. He had been
held against his will for two long years, with no legal support for his
detainment. Both Felix and
Festus were not interested in Roman justice.
They were interested in appeasing the Jews and their own position
for the second time the Jews brought their charges against Paul without
proof. The case should have
been dropped. Festus should not have asked Paul if he wanted to go to Jerusalem. The case should have ended
knew that he had not committed any crime against Roman law.
If he had of, he was willing to take the punishment, even if it
stood on his rights as a Roman citizen and refused to go to
took Festus a few moments to go over the situation with his legal council,
but realized that if this was Paulís request, he had no legal way to
the words "I have done nothing wrong, as you yourself know" in
verse 10. Paul was pressing
down on Festus at this point. He
was attempting to corner Festus in once sense of the word.
Festus knew Paul had done nothing wrong and he was simply ignoring
his legal responsibility to judge between the Jews and Paul.
Paul was pointing this error out to Festus.
verse 11 we see that Paul was quite willing to suffer the consequences if
he had broken the law. A
serious study of Romans 13:1 - 7 shows us how Paul thought about
government and law. He would
submit as long as he didn't disobey Jesus in the process.
According to Romans 13:1, Paul taught that government was
instituted by God to judge the wrong doer and protect the innocent.
So, if Paul had done wrong, he was willing to be judged and pay the
penalty. However, if he had
not done wrong, he would certainly stand up for himself in the very court
of law instituted by God to protect the innocent.
this point I should make one last comment on Paul's words in Romans 13:1.
Paul did not teach that any particular government acted on God's
behalf. He was simply saying
that government in general, as an institution, was God's idea.
That being said, there are sufficient Scriptures that tell us that
God causes leaders and nations both to rise and fall.
He puts men in leadership and he knocks men out of leadership.
God works behind the scene of nations and men to do His will.
He will put evil men in authority for accomplish His own purpose.
This is most clear when you study the book of Revelation and see
that it is God who allows the anti-christ onto the world scene to
accomplish His own will.
verse 12 we note that Festus conferred with his advisors, and then he
agreed with Paul. Paul could
appeal to Caesar. I suggest
that Festus was very happy with this because he now did not have to deal
with the situation.
see a couple of things throughout this process. One is the personal
ambition of the Roman governors and the fact that they donít uphold the
very law they stand for.
thing we see is that Paul always calls his opposition the Jews.
verse 13 we see that King Agrippa paid a visit to Festus which lasted a
This visit would have been due to Festusí new position as
King Agrippa is Agrippa the second and was in charge of the area
around the north of the Sea of Galilee. He
was part Jew and part Gentile, and so was his wife Bernice, who by the
way, was actually his sister.
Agrippa was from the family of Herods, who were both Jew and
He knew about Jewish law and he had heard about this new sect
called Christians, as the Jews would have put it.
Agrippa was the King and because he understood Jewish tradition, Festus
consulted with him concerning Paul and what he should do with Paul.
He explained the charges that the Jews presented to him concerning
verse 16 Festus tells Agrippa that he informed the Jews that he could not
simply hand Paul over to them to be tried in Jerusalem. That
was not Roman custom.
A Roman needed a proper trial where he could defend himself.
The problem with what Festus tells Agrippa is that it does not seem
to be the way that it really happened.
Festus seemed quite willing to send Paul to Jerusalem, but Paul refused.
To me, it seems that Festus was retelling the story to make himself
look better than he really was.
verse 17Festus tells Agrippa that he did not delay the proceedings, but
the next day met with Paul and his accusers.
These facts are correct from what we see Luke has told us.
verses 18 and 19 Festus relates to Agrippa that he was surprised about the
charges the Jews laid against Paul, because they were all religious
matters concerning their religion and also concerning some dead man who
Paul claimed was alive.
You can well see that even in those days the thought of a man named
Jesus who died and then rose from the dead was somewhat foreign to the
admits that he was at a loss to how to handle this situation, thus the
reason for his conversation with Agrippa.
Agrippa himself was intrigued by the story so he asked to see Paul
as well and to hear what he had to say.
here we go again.
Paul has already defended himself before the Sanhedrin in
should understand that according to Roman law Paul would have had to pay
his expenses to go to