Review of Acts 25

by Pastor Ayo Sparks

Acts 25:11-12 NET If then I am in the wrong and have done anything that deserves death, I am not trying to escape dying, but if not one of their charges against me is true, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!” Then, after conferring with his council, Festus replied, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you will go!

Giving way to his desire to please the Jews, Festus suggested a retrial in Jerusalem, but Paul knew all too well that no fair trial would be possible by the murder-breathing Jews. He had also sensed the changed attitude of the governor and knew that Festus’ judgement would be seriously affected by his desire to appease the Jews (24.27).

Paul now had no other choice but one the only hope of getting a fair trial was to exercise his right as a Roman citizen, so he appealed to the emperor. Not that he wanted to save his life: he just wanted to get a fair trial. After consultation, the request was granted.

Interestingly, the name “Caesar is mentioned eight times in this chapter in three forms: Kaisar, Sebastos (, Augustus, w. 21. 25) and ho Kyrios (‘the Lord’, v. 26). This Caesar was none other than the infamous Nero, but he had not yet shown any sign of cruelty.

With the change of governor, the Jews made another plot to kill Paul and asked Festus to bring him back to Jerusalem to be tried again by the Jewish authorities. Festus initially saw no reason for such an anomalous procedure, so he refused their request Luke does not say much about the hearing before Festus, since it was basically the repetition of the earlier one conducted by Felix, The only thing it confirmed was that the Jews were unable to present any substantial evidence for the charges brought against Paul It was during this hearing that Paul finally appealed to Caesar, which marked one of the most crucial moments in the long career of Paul already had the conviction that he would bear witness to the gospel in Rome as he had done in Jerusalem (23,11), but now it became clear that he would go to Rome as a prisoner to stand in the emperor’s court. It is somewhat unusual that Luke describes in detail the conversation between Festus and Agrippa and the introductory speech of Festus at the hearing.

The primary purpose of such an extended report seems to be to underscore the innocence of Paul in the face of the Jewish accusation against him Festus’s words sum up the matter very clearly. King Agrippa and all here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish community petitioned me both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. But I found that he had done nothing deserving death (vv. 24-25; c w. 18-19)

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