Summary of Acts 25:
Festus immediately has to deal with Paul as the Jews again request a trial in Jerusalem where they intending to ambush Paul and kill him. Festus, not wanting to give in to the Jews, denies this request and says they must travel to Caesarea to make their charges.
Paul again denies all charges at this new trial. Festus, wanting to ingratiate himself with the Jews, asks Paul to go to Jerusalem for trial. Here, Paul invokes his right (as a Roman citizen) to appeal to Caesar in Rome for Paul has been called to go to Rome, not Jerusalem.
King Agrippa arrives for a visit with Festus, and Festus discusses Paul’s case with him, saying that it seems to be a religious dispute rather than any crime committed. Festus admitted he didn’t know what to do so Paul asked to be tried before Caesar.
Festus convenes an audience with Agrippa and brings Paul in. Festus says there is nothing Paul has done deserving of death, but Paul has insisted he wants a trial before the emperor. Festus is reluctant to send Paul to the emperor with no charges against him (this was customary for the Romans to send a written explanation of the charges to the emperor).
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 26, Day 3: Acts 25
6) Festus immediately has to deal with Paul as the chief priest and Jewish leaders appeared before Festus and presented the charges against Paul. They request a trial in Jerusalem where they intending to ambush Paul and kill him. Festus, not wanting to give in to the Jews, denies this request and says they must travel to Caesarea to make their charges.
Festus travels to Caesarea and calls Paul before him. The Jews went there as well and bring more serious charges against Paul, which, of course, they could not prove. Paul says has done nothing wrong in violation of Jewish law, against the temple, or against Caesar. Paul, after having been asked to delay his trial again by going to Jerusalem, invokes his right to appeal to Caesar. Festus agrees to take him there.
7) Paul is human and can’t take this anymore. I’m sure he is feeling the calling to preach the Gospel, so he invokes his right to see Caesar to decide once and for all. I think we all get to the point where we have to say “enough is enough” in our lives and end whatever trial is dragging itself out. Paul handles everything with poise and class, as we should as well.
8 ) Part Personal Question. My answer: For many reasons. He is protecting Paul’s life since the Jews want to murder him. Paul is witnessing to the Roman leader, such as Felix. Paul is spreading the gospel to Rome once he arrives. Paul is given time to write/dictate many of his letters during his time in prison. It’s a time of rest and replenishment as well, allowing Paul to prepare for the challenges he will face in the years ahead. In sum, God has more important work for Paul to do in prison than out of prison.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 26, Day 3: Acts 25
Last time BSF did the study of Acts, Acts 24, 25 & 26 was in one lesson. I think the days of long passages are over since that is one of the biggest complaints of those in BSF is the lessons take too long. I will be insanely curious to see how BSF does Isaiah, which I remember we had many days where we covered many chapters in a day in order to get through the material. Now that BSF is only 30 weeks instead of 32 weeks, the study of Isaiah will be a challenge indeed.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 26, Day 3: Acts 25
Acts 24 ended with the transition from the governorship of Antonius Felix to that of Porcius Festus. Felix was undoubtedly a bad man, but history tells us Festus was a basically good man. He governed well, despite all the problems left him by Felix.
Upon arriving at Caesarea, the capital of the Judean province, he immediately made the trip to Jerusalem, probably the most important city of the province.
The Jewish leaders knew Paul would be acquitted. Thus, they prepare to murder him. If your religion makes you a liar and a murderer, there is something wrong with your religion.
We don’t know if Festus knew the intentions of the Jewish leaders or not. Either way, he refused to grant their request for a change of venue, and this was another way that God protected Paul.
Many in the Bible were the target of false accusations (such as Joseph and Daniel). Yet in another sense, every follower of Jesus is the target of false accusations by the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). Thankfully, Jesus is our defense against condemnation and false accusation (Romans 8:33-34).
Though he was a good man, Festus also understood that it was important for him to have and keep good a good relationship with the Jewish people of his province.
Festus found it difficult to decide the case. Paul’s standing as a Roman citizen apparently prevented Festus from commanding the trial to be moved to Jerusalem, so he asked Paul about this.
Paul saw through the plot against his life. Perhaps it was through supernatural knowledge, or perhaps through God-given common sense and deduction. Therefore, he demanded to stand trial before Caesar.
Rightly and wisely, Paul wanted to avoid martyrdom if he could. He wasn’t afraid to face the lions, but he didn’t want to put his head in a lion’s mouth if he could avoid it.
Paul’s appeal made sense. He was convinced that the evidence was on his side and that he could win in a fair trial. He also had reason to wonder if his current judge (Festus) was sympathetic to his accusers, the religious leaders among the Jews.
It was the right of every Roman citizen to have his case heard by Caesar himself, after initial trials and appeals failed to reach a satisfactory decision. This was in effect an appeal to the supreme court of the Roman Empire.
Paul appealed specifically to Caesar Nero, who was later an notorious enemy of Christians. But the first five years of his reign, under the influence of good men around him, Nero was regarded as a wise and just ruler. Paul had no reason at this time to believe that Nero would be anti-Christian.
Herod Agrippa II ruled a client kingdom of the Roman Empire to the northeast of Festus’ province. Agrippa was known as an expert in Jewish customs and religious matters. Though he did not have jurisdiction over Paul in this case, his hearing of the matter would be helpful for Festus.
King Agrippa’s great-grandfather had tried to kill Jesus as a baby; his grandfather had John the Baptist beheaded; his father had martyred the first apostle, James. Now Paul stood before the next in line of the Herods, Herod Agrippa.
Bernice was Agrippa’s sister. Secular history records rumors that their relationship was incestuous.
Herod Agrippa II didn’t rule over much territory, but he was of great influence because the emperor gave him the right to oversee the affairs of the temple in Jerusalem and the appointment of the high priest.
Festus appealed to the strong tradition and system of law. He would not condemn Paul without a fair trial.
Agrippa’s curiosity meant that Paul would have another opportunity to speak God’s truth to a Gentile ruler. This would be the third such opportunity for Paul in Acts 24-26 (Felix, Festus, and now Agrippa).
Surrounded by the important and powerful people of Caesarea and beyond, Paul came into the auditorium. All the pomp and pageantry was meant to communicate who was important, and who wasn’t important. This was another tremendous opportunity for Paul.
It was important for Luke to record these words of Festus. They clearly state that Festus understood that Paul was innocent.
Festus wanted to use this trial to prepare an official brief for Paul’s upcoming trial before Caesar.
After all, Festus simply could not send Paul to Caesar with a letter that said, “I really don’t know what this man is accused of and he is probably innocent of any wrongdoing, but I thought I should send him to you anyway.” That was no way to be popular with Caesar.
Paul was so innocent that Festus could not actually describe or specify the charges against him. Isn’t this insane just how much the Jewish leaders wanted Paul dead?