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In today’s Christain Religious Studies class, We will be discussing Paul’s Trial Before Festus. We hope you enjoy the class!
PAUL BEFORE FESTUS [ACTS 25; 1-20]
Paul had been falsely accused of starting riots and defiling the temple. Although innocent of these accusations Paul was kept in prison in Caesarea where he appeared before a succession of governors and leaders including Felix, Festus and even the Jewish King Agrippa. At each court appearance, Paul spoke freely about his Christian faith. His accusers could never prove him guilty and Paul eventually used his right as a Roman citizen to ask to be sent to Rome to appear before Caesar’s court.
Acts 25:1-6 – The trial of Paul before Festus.
Before Festus meets with Paul, he makes a trip to Jerusalem, where the chief priest and other leading men bring charges against Paul. They want Paul brought to Jerusalem. Festus refuses this request but allowed certain of the leaders to accompany him back to Caesarea for a hearing. Paul is ordered to be brought forth. This time charges are added to charges.
Vs7: “After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him which they could not prove.”
While being unable to prove corruption against Paul, they only showed their own hearts. These were the kind that Paul warned about in his letter to the Philippians; “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision.”
Vss8-9: Synopsis – Paul begins his defence, but Festus wishes to placate the Jews, so he says to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these charges?” And here is where we see Paul play his ultimate card.
Vs10-11: “But Paul said, ‘I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know. If then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.’”
When Paul said, “No one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar,” there was no more argument to be had. His Jewish accusers would have not more say in the matter.
Note: The law of appeal to Caesar was very sacred to the Romans. Under Julian law, any magistrate, or any other with Roman authority, who put to death, or tortured, a Roman citizen who had made an appeal to Caesar, could themselves be condemned. It could even result in a death sentence. (This appeal was generally used as a final need. Most citizens would not want to appear before the emperor of Rome. But Paul must go to Rome.)
Paul’s appeal took Festus completely by surprise, even though it got him out of a rather sticky situation. The whole matter had been taken out of his hands, and he did not have to make any tough decisions. He consulted with his council of advisors and then announced, “You have appealed to the emperor; to the emperor, you will go.”
Vs12: “Then when Festus had conferred with his council, he answered, ‘You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go.’”
The council agreed that Paul should be sent to Rome. But this also relieved Festus of any obligation to the Jews, which he was really needed in beginning his new administration.
- What were the accusations levelled against Paul by the Jews?
- What was Paul’s defence?
- Why was Festus unable to pass judgment on Paul?
We have come to the end of this class. We do hope you enjoyed the class?
Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.
In our next class, we will be talking about Paul before King Agrippa. We are very much eager to meet you there.
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