The minute he walked in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem were all over him, hurling the most extreme accusations, none of which they could prove.
Then Paul took the stand and said simply, "I've done nothing wrong against the Jewish religion, or the Temple, or Caesar. Period."
Festus, though, wanted to get on the good side of the Jews and so said, "How would you like to go up to Jerusalem, and let me conduct your trial there?"
Paul answered, "I'm standing at this moment before Caesar's bar of justice, where I have a perfect right to stand. And I'm going to keep standing here. I've done nothing wrong to the Jews, and you know it as well as I do.
If I've committed a crime and deserve death, name the day. I can face it. But if there's nothing to their accusations - and you know there isn't - nobody can force me to go along with their nonsense. We've fooled around here long enough. I appeal to Caesar."
Festus huddled with his advisors briefly and then gave his verdict: "You've appealed to Caesar; you'll go to Caesar!"
A few days later King Agrippa and his wife, Bernice, visited Caesarea to welcome Festus to his new post.
After several days, Festus brought up Paul's case to the king. "I have a man on my hands here, a prisoner left by Felix.
When I was in Jerusalem, the high priests and Jewish leaders brought a bunch of accusations against him and wanted me to sentence him to death.
I told them that wasn't the way we Romans did things. Just because a man is accused, we don't throw him out to the dogs. We make sure the accused has a chance to face his accusers and defend himself of the charges.
So when they came down here I got right on the case. I took my place in the courtroom and put the man on the stand.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)