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Bible Commentaries
Acts 25

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NTLuscombe's NT Commentary

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Verse 1

1 Now when Festus had come to the province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem.

1. Now Festus is the governor. He has been in office for three days and he makes a trip from the Roman capital of the region to the Jewish capital, Jerusalem.

2. It is a long journey, about 55-60 miles. Typically, it is a two-day trip each way.

Verse 2

2 Then the high priest and the chief men of the Jews informed him against Paul: and they petitioned him.

1. Festus meets with the chief priest. Not because he is the religious leader of the Jews, but because he is the civil leader, head of the council and highest civil officer among the Jews.

2. The high priest and the chief men inform him of Paul. Of course, this early in his reign as governor, he has not heard anything about Paul.

Verse 3

3 asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem - while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him.

1. These Jewish leaders asked that Festus send Paul back to Jerusalem to be tried.

2. Their real objective was, as was planned 2 years earlier, to ambush him and kill him.

Verse 4

4 But Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was going there shortly.

1. Paul is now, and has been for 2 years, in Roman control. Festus was not about to release that control.

2. Instead, Festus invited these men, probably some of the same men that came to Felix two years earlier, to come present their case.

Verse 5

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. "

1. They were welcome to travel with Festus as he returned to Caesarea.

2. The trial will be held and he will determine the future of Paul.

Verse 6

6 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.

1. Festus stayed in Jerusalem for more than ten days before returning to his capital.

2. Upon returning to Caesarea, Festus sat in the official capacity of judge and was ready to hear the case against Paul.

3. Now Paul is brought in to hear the charges, again.

Verse 7

7 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.

1. There were many Jews in the court room. They had come from Jerusalem, again, to make a case against Paul before a Roman governor.

2. They made many complaints - but could prove nothing.

Verse 8

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. "

1. Paul is now given a chance to respond to these unfounded complaints.

2. Paul declares that he has not offended:

1. The law of the Jews.

2. The temple in Jerusalem.

3. Caesar.

4. Anyone, anytime, anywhere in anything at all.

Verse 9

9 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 concerning these things? "

1. Festus, just beginning his reign, wants to have good relations with the Jews.

2. He knows that he can not, under Roman law, send Paul back to Jerusalem.

3. All he can do is see of Paul would go of his own free will. Festus asks Paul if he is willing to return to Jerusalem to have these charges heard.

Verse 10

10 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.

1. Paul correctly responds with his legal right. Paul is in Caesar's judgment seat. This is where judgment ought to take place.

2. Paul also says that the Jews know that he had done nothing wrong by Roman law or by Jewish law.

3. Paul knows that what they want is him to be killed.

Verse 11

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. "

1. Paul states that if he had done wrong - he would suffer the consequences of his actions.

2. There is nothing charged against him, so there is not purpose in returning to Jerusalem.

3. The the bombshell - I appeal to Caesar.

Verse 12

12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, " You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go. "

1. Festus is thrown for a loop. What does he do now?

2. He confers with the council, probably explaining the legal right that Paul has as a Roman citizen.

3. He reaches the only decision he could reach. Paul will go to Rome.

Verse 13

13 And after some days King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus.

1. Now the "puppet king" Agrippa and his wife/sister come to visit the new governor.

2. Agrippa - is the son of Herod Agrippa, the king who killed James in Act_12:1-25 .

3. Bernice - Thayer says, "The eldest daughter of Herod Agrippa I. Act_12:1 - She was first married to her uncle Herod, king of Chalcis, and after his death (A.D. 48) she lived under circumstances of great suspicion with her own brother, Agrippa II, in connection with whom she is mentioned as having visited Festus on his appointment as procurator of Judea." She is also the sister of Drusilla, mentioned in Act_24:24 .

Verse 14

14 When they had been there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king saying, " There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix,

1. Festus makes some conversation with Agrippa. He is facing a difficult decision.

1. He can send Paul to Jerusalem, knowing he is innocent and will be killed by the Jews.

2. He can release him, because he is innocent of any wrong.

3. He can send him to Rome. But, he needs some charge, some reason, for Caesar to hear the case.

2. This verse also reminds us that this is an issue that was left dangling by Felix.

Verses 15-16

15 about whom the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, when I was in Jerusalem, asking for a judgment against him.

16 To then I answered, It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.

1. Festus confirms that is not right to return him to Jerusalem after the Romans have taken over the case.

2. He has been held in prison for more than two years and has yet to have a charge made or any kind of trial to answer the charges.

Verses 17-19

17 Therefore when they had come together, without any delay, the next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought in.

18 When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusations against him of such things as I supposed.

19 but has some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

1. Festus soon learned that the charges were not legal matters. They were matters of Jewish custom and involved details of the Jewish religion.

2. He also learned about Jesus and the resurrection were at the core of this dispute.

Verses 20-22

20 And because I was uncertain of such questions, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters.

21 But when Paul appealed to be reserved for the decision of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I cold send him to Caesar.

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, " I also would like to hear the man myself. " " Tomorrow, " he said, " you shall hear him. "

1. This case is of some interest to Agrippa.

2. Remember, his father killed James to persecute Christians.

3. Tomorrow Agrippa will get his turn to hear Paul and what this is all about.

Verse 23

23 So the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and had entered the auditorium with the commanders and the prominent men of the city, at Festus' command Paul was brought in.

1. A large assembly hall is used to hold all that are interested in hearing this case.

2. Agrippa and Bernice enter with great ceremony.

3. There are also many prominent men of Caesarea present.

4. Paul is brought in.

Verses 24-27

24 And Festus said, " King Agrippa and all the men who are here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole assembly of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying out that he was not fit to live any longer.

25 But when I found that he had committed nothing deserving of death, and that he himself had appealed to Augustus, I decided to send him.

26 I have nothing certain to write to my lord concerning him. Therefore I have brought him out before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the examination has taken place I may have something to write.

27 For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not to specify the charges against him. "

1. Festus now explains the purpose of this meeting.

2. Notice - He does not say that this is done because Agrippa in curious.

3. Festus has a genuine problem. How can he send Paul to Rome - when there are no charges. Caesar would say, "If he is not charged, let him go free."

4. Festus knows that he can not let him go free. He will be killed. He can't send him back to Jerusalem. He will be killed. He is only in prison for two reasons:

1. Protetive custody to prevent the Jews from killing him.

2. Festus is seeking to please the Jews.

Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on Acts 25". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/acts-25.html. 2021.
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