Three days after Festus arrived in Caesarea to take over his new responsibilities, he left for Jerusalem,
where the leading priests and other Jewish leaders met with him and made their accusations against Paul.
They asked Festus as a favor to transfer Paul to Jerusalem. (Their plan was to waylay and kill him.)
But Festus replied that Paul was at Caesarea and he himself would be returning there soon.
So he said, "Those of you in authority can return with me. If Paul has done anything wrong, you can make your accusations."
Eight or ten days later he returned to Caesarea, and on the following day Paul's trial began.
On Paul's arrival in court, the Jewish leaders from Jerusalem gathered around and made many serious accusations they couldn't prove.
Paul denied the charges. "I am not guilty," he said. "I have committed no crime against the Jewish laws or the Temple or the Roman government."
Then Festus, wanting to please the Jews, asked him, "Are you willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there?"
But Paul replied, "No! This is the official Roman court, so I ought to be tried right here. You know very well I am not guilty.
If I have done something worthy of death, I don't refuse to die. But if I am innocent, neither you nor anyone else has a right to turn me over to these men to kill me. I appeal to Caesar!"
Festus conferred with his advisers and then replied, "Very well! You have appealed to Caesar, and to Caesar you shall go!"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)