On trial before Festus

In A.D. 59, Felix was replaced in Judea by Porcius Festus.  His rule lasted only 2 years, as he died in office.  As soon as Festus arrives in Judea, the chief priests bring up a number of false, but serious charges against Paul.

7 When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them. 8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”

When Festus asks Paul if he is willing to go to Jerusalem for trial.  Paul recognizes the danger of another conspiracy, and officially appeals to Caesar.  The right of legal appeal to Caesar is an important perquisite of Roman citizenship.  By the act of appeal, Paul takes himself out of the jurisdiction both of the Jewish court (the Sanhedrin) and the jurisdiction of Festus as well.

7 When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them.  8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”

Festus consults king Agrippa

A few days later Herod Agrippa II, a high ranking Roman administrator in Judea, visits the new procurator (the title king is a courtesy title only). Festus asks for advice about the unfamiliar Jewish customs and beliefs which complicate the case of this Roman citizen, Paul.

15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.  16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over anyone before they have faced their accusers and have had an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges.

Paul Before Agrippa

The next day, all the important people in Caesarea assemble with the Roman administrators to witness the interrogation.  Agrippa and Bernice enter with great pomp.  Fetus introduces Paul’s case and the apostle is then invited to speak out for himself.

15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.  16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over anyone before they have faced their accusers and have had an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges.  27 For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.”


Paul was supplied with the wisdom to appeal to Caesar using his Roman citizenship.  Roman authorities would be more fair and objective than the Jewish leaders.  While being in trial and tribulation in this world, day to day wisdom to deal with current situations will be provided by the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *