Acts 25

Paul appeals to Caesar

1 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
2 The chief priests and Jewish leaders presented their case against Paul. Appealing to him,
3 they asked as a favor from Festus that he summon Paul to Jerusalem. They were planning to ambush and kill him along the way.
4 But Festus responded by keeping Paul in Caesarea, since he was to return there very soon himself.
5 "Some of your leaders can come down with me," he said. "If he's done anything wrong, they can bring charges against him."
6 He stayed with them for no more than eight or ten days, then went down to Caesarea. The following day he took his seat in the court and ordered that Paul be brought in.
7 When he arrived, many Jews who had come down from Jerusalem surrounded him. They brought serious charges against him, but they couldn't prove them.
8 In his own defense, Paul said, "I've done nothing wrong against the Jewish Law, against the temple, or against Caesar."
9 Festus, wanting to put the Jews in his debt, asked Paul, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem to stand trial before me concerning these things?"
10 Paul replied, "I'm standing before Caesar's court. I ought to be tried here. I have done nothing wrong to the Jews, as you well know.
11 If I'm guilty and have done something that deserves death, then I won't try to avoid death. But if there is nothing to their accusations against me, no one has the authority to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!"
12 After Festus conferred with his advisors, he responded, "You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go."

King Agrippa informed about Paul

13 After several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea to welcome Festus.
14 Since they were staying there for many days, Festus discussed the case against Paul with the king. He said, "There is a man whom Felix left in prison.
15 When I was in Jerusalem, the Jewish chief priests and elders brought charges against him and requested a guilty verdict in his case.
16 I told them it is contrary to Roman practice to hand someone over before they have faced their accusers and had opportunity to offer a defense against the charges.
17 When they came here, I didn't put them off. The very next day I took my seat in the court and ordered that the man be brought before me.
18 When the accusers took the floor, they didn't charge him with any of the crimes I had expected.
19 Instead, they quibbled with him about their own religion and about some dead man named Jesus, who Paul claimed was alive.
20 Since I had no idea how to investigate these matters, I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem to stand trial there on these issues.
21 However, Paul appealed that he be held in custody pending a decision from His Majesty the emperor, so I ordered that he be held until I could send him to Caesar."
22 Agrippa said to Festus, "I want to hear the man myself." "Tomorrow," Festus replied, "you will hear him."
23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great fanfare. They entered the auditorium with the military commanders and the city's most prominent men. Festus then ordered that Paul be brought in.
24 Festus said, "King Agrippa and everyone present with us: You see this man! The entire Jewish community, both here and in Jerusalem, has appealed to me concerning him. They've been calling for his immediate death.
25 I've found that he has done nothing deserving death. When he appealed to His Majesty, I decided to send him to Rome.
26 I have nothing definite to write to our lord emperor. Therefore, I've brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after this investigation, I might have something to write.
27 After all, it would be foolish to send a prisoner without specifying the charges against him."

Acts 25 Commentary

Chapter 25

Paul before Festus, he appeals to Caesar. (1-12) Festus confers with Agrippa respecting Paul. (13-27)

Verses 1-12 See how restless malice is. Persecutors deem it a peculiar favour to have their malice gratified. Preaching Christ, the end of the law, was no offence against the law. In suffering times the prudence of the Lord's people is tried, as well as their patience; they need wisdom. It becomes those who are innocent, to insist upon their innocence. Paul was willing to abide by the rules of the law, and to let that take its course. If he deserved death, he would accept the punishment. But if none of the things whereof they accused him were true, no man could deliver him unto them, with justice. Paul is neither released nor condemned. It is an instance of the slow steps which Providence takes; by which we are often made ashamed, both of our hopes and of our fears, and are kept waiting on God.

Verses 13-27 Agrippa had the government of Galilee. How many unjust and hasty judgments the Roman maxim, ver. ( 16 ) , condemn! This heathen, guided only by the light of nature, followed law and custom exactly, yet how many Christians will not follow the rules of truth, justice, and charity, in judging their brethren! The questions about God's worship, the way of salvation, and the truths of the gospel, may appear doubtful and without interest, to worldly men and mere politicians. See how slightly this Roman speaks of Christ, and of the great controversy between the Jews and the Christians. But the day is at hand when Festus and the whole world will see, that all the concerns of the Roman empire were but trifles and of no consequence, compared with this question of Christ's resurrection. Those who have had means of instruction, and have despised them, will be awfully convinced of their sin and folly. Here was a noble assembly brought together to hear the truths of the gospel, though they only meant to gratify their curiosity by attending to the defence of a prisoner. Many, even now, attend at the places of hearing the word of God with "great pomp," and too often with no better motive than curiosity. And though ministers do not now stand as prisoners to make a defence for their lives, yet numbers affect to sit in judgment upon them, desirous to make them offenders for a word, rather than to learn from them the truth and will of God, for the salvation of their souls But the pomp of this appearance was outshone by the real glory of the poor prisoner at the bar. What was the honour of their fine appearance, compared with that of Paul's wisdom, and grace, and holiness; his courage and constancy in suffering for Christ! It is no small mercy to have God clear up our righteousness as the light, and our just dealing as the noon-day; to have nothing certain laid to our charge. And God makes even the enemies of his people to do them right.

Acts 25 Commentaries