Chapter Twenty-Five — Part One: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 03/19/2023Foundation Scriptures:
a. Acts 25:1 NKJV — Now when Festus had come to the province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
b. Festus, also called Porcius Festus, was made procurator in 60 A.D.
c. After being in office only two years, he died in Judea.
d. Here was the new governor, who replaced Felix, and yet he did not behave any differently.
e. He would not release Paul, but neither did he allow the Jews to have their way and murder him.
f. Acts 25:2-3 NKJV — Then the high priest and the chief men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they petitioned him, 3 asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem — while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him.
g. Again, the Jews made accusations against Paul, and petitioned Festus to bring him back to Jerusalem, hoping that they would be able to ambush and murder him along the way.
h. How unrighteous they were, to beg Festus to violate the law as a “favor” to them.
i. Acts 25:4-5 NKJV — But Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was going there shortly. 5 “Therefore,” he said, “let those who have authority among you go down with me and accuse this man, to see if there is any fault in him.”
j. Instead, Festus left Paul in Caesarea, planning to go there himself in a few days.
k. He instructed the Jews to send representatives to present their case there, thus foiling their dastardly plans.
2. Appeal to Caesar.
a. Acts 25:6 NKJV — And when he had remained among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day, sitting on the judgment seat, he commanded Paul to be brought.
b. Festus spent more than ten days in Jerusalem before he went down to Caesarea.
c. The very next day, he sat himself on the judgment seat, and began the new trial.
d. Acts 25:7-8 NKJV — When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove, 8 while he answered for himself, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”
e. Once again, the Jews brought many serious complaints and exaggerated claims, that they could not prove.
f. Paul defended himself against every charge—that he had not broken any one of the Jewish laws, temple laws, or Roman laws.
g. Acts 25:9 NKJV — But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?”
h. Paul was vindicated on all charges, and should have been released; but Festus, like Felix, was playing political games with the Jews, asking Paul if he was willing to go up to Jerusalem to be judged there.
i. Acts 25:10-11 NKJV — So Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know. 11 For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
j. Paul was willing to bear the punishment if indeed he had broken the law.
k. However, since he was innocent, and since Festus seemed unwilling to follow the law and release him, he had no option but to appeal to Caesar.
l. Every Roman citizen had the right to appeal to Caesar.
m. An appeal to Caesar was highly respected, and any Roman representative was obliged to send the prisoner to Rome at that point or be condemned themselves.
n. From that moment on, no one was legally allowed to judge, condemn, torture, or put to death the prisoner who had appealed to Caesar.
o. Acts 25:12 NKJV — Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!”
p. It seems as though Festus had some reservations about sending Paul to Rome to stand before Caesar, because he first consulted with these council before agreeing to send him.
q. This was obviously God’s plan to take Paul to be his witness in Rome, as He had confirmed to Paul previously.
3. King Agrippa and Bernice.
a. Acts 25:13 NKJV — And after some days King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus.
b. King Agrippa was the second son of Herod Agrippa, who murdered James the brother of John, arrested Peter, and was eventually eaten up of worms and died.
c. When his father died, he was too young to be king.
d. In 50 A.D. Claudius gave him the kingdom of Chalcis, and after that he was given the tetrarchies of Abilene and Trachonitis, together with the title of king.
e. Agrippa was of Idumean descent, an Edomite, descended from Esau, Jacob’s brother.
f. Therefore, he was well acquainted with Jewish laws, and given power to appoint the high priests.
g. He attached himself to the Romans and worked to prevent Jewish rebellion, and when they did rebel, his army, and that of Titus, helped to destroy Jerusalem.
h. Bernice was his sister, and was the widow of his uncle, Herod, king of Chalcis.
i. Then Bernice married (and divorced) Polemon king of Cilicia, after which she returned to her brother.
j. They were suspected of having an incestuous relationship.
k. King Agrippa and Bernice had come to greet and pay their respects to Festus and to congratulate him on his appointment as procurator.