We have learned that Paul is about to face a new Governor by the name of Festus. We also learned that Festus had no idea what he was going to face. Almost immediately, the Jewish leaders begin to press Festus regarding their case against Paul. They ask Festus for a “favor” against Paul, urging him to send Paul to Jerusalem so they can ambush him along the way. It seems ironic that the Greek word here, and again in verse 9, is charis, normally translated grace. This is all these folks know of grace.
The first time it was 40 assassins who came up with the plot to kill Paul; this time it is the Jewish religious leaders, members of the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish court in the land, who are taking the initiative.
Here is the point at which we see Festus attempting a “take charge” posture. He will not let these Jewish leaders push him around! He will not go to their turf; they will have to come to his. He was soon to be on his way to Caesarea and the Jewish leaders came to him there, and that is where he will try Paul.
“After Festus had stayed not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he sat on the judgment seat and ordered Paul to be brought. When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges that they were not able to prove. Paul said in his defense, ‘I have committed no offense against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.’ But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, asked Paul, ‘Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and be tried before me there on these charges?’ Paul replied, ‘I am standing before Caesar’s judgment seat, where I should be tried. I have done nothing wrong to the Jews, as you also know very well. 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!’” —Acts 25:6-12
All appearances are that Festus is in control of the situation. He is not giving in to the Jewish leaders’ request that he send Paul to Jerusalem and that they conduct his trial there. He is now in Caesarea, and he promptly takes his place on the judgment seat to hear the case against Paul.
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