Day 25 of The Acts Challenge 2019! Today, Festus hears from both the Jews and Paul, with lots more to read about as well. Only 3 more days left! I hope you join me!
The Jews Ask to Kill Paul
(Vs. 1) Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
(Vs. 2) Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
(Vs. 3) And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.
This time, the Jews simply flat out asked if they could kill Paul while he was making his way back to Jerusalem. This was their one all-consuming thought at the time. The enemy in no way wanted what Paul had to say to get out to the general public.
Let’s Accuse Paul Instead
(Vs. 4) But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and he himself would depart shortly thither.
(Vs. 5) Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.
(Vs. 6) And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
(Vs. 7) And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.
And again, many accusations were made against Paul by the Jews, but none of them could be proven.
(Vs. 8) While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
Paul knows he has done nothing wrong and has not come against the Jews, the temple, Ceasar, or anyone else.
(Vs. 9) But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?
Seeing that his plan was falling through as to making accusations, Festus must have backpeddled enough to reconsider the Jews’ idea. Maybe killing him on the way back to Jerusalem wasn’t such a bad idea after all?
Paul Has More to Say
(Vs. 10) Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews I have done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
Paul knows that they all know they are lying, accusing him for things not done. But then, there’s been a lot of lying going on here lately.
(Vs. 11) For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.
Paul said that is he had done anything that actually made him deserve dying, then he would refuse NOT to die. But, knowing that he hasn’t, he says that no one can force him back to the Jews judgment seat. Instead, he appeals directly to Ceasar.
Off to Ceasar with You
(Vs. 12) Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
We don’t know exactly what their conversation sounded like, but I can guess, can’t you?
You know, we can’t prove any of these things we’re saying! And if he refuses to come back to Jerusalem, we’re not going to have the chance to kill him! Maybe you should do your best to make this his last stop.
And so Festus agrees to send Paul on to Caesar.
King Agrippa Gets the Story
(Vs. 13) And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.
(Vs. 14) And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul’s case unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix:
(Vs. 15) About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.
(Vs. 16) To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
(Vs. 17) Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I say on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth.
(Vs. 18) Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed:
(Vs. 19) But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
(Vs. 20) And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.
(Vs. 21) But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.
Again, another in authority fudges on the truth a little bit. Always set up to take more credit than is actually due them, but that seems to be the running methodology.
(Vs. 22) Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.
(Vs. 23) And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus’ commandment Paul was brought forth.
(Vs. 24) And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, and whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
(Vs. 25) But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.
(Vs. 26) Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
(Vs. 27) For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
Finally, Paul has made it before yet another judgment seat. What will become of him? What will they say? Come back tomorrow to find out!