The Book of Acts: Chapter 25 (pt 10 of 16)

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Festus had presented his case well to Agrippa. It was a very interesting case indeed. Tomorrow he will hear the case. No one was more delighted than Festus.

The next day, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at the great hall with great formality, accompanied by the military commanders and the city’s leading men. Festus ordered Paul to be brought before them.

“Festus began, ‘King Agrippa and all our honored guests, here is the man who has been charged with wrongdoing by the Jewish community—both in Jerusalem and here. They yelled for his execution, but I found him guilty of no capital offense. Then he appealed to our Imperial Majesty, so I have agreed that he will be sent to Rome. Here is where I need your help. I can’t send a man to our emperor without a letter logically detailing the charges against him, but I have no idea what to write. So, King Agrippa, and all of you honored guests, I am requesting your help in determining what to write in my letter to the emperor'” —Acts 25:23-27

There is nothing new here regarding the dilemma facing Festus. What is new, though, is the group of people that want to hear Paul’s “defense,” keeps growing. Evidently, Festus has decided to make this a festive occasion. The group of dignitaries has gathered in a magnificent hall with great pomp and circumstance. Not only is Agrippa and Bernice there, but also the senior military officers, along with the prominent men of the city. Anybody who was “somebody” must have been there. I guess they figured they should obtain the counsel of as many of the elite as possible.

Finally, Festus gives the word, and they bring Paul in. After Paul arrives, Festus gives this impressive group a word of introduction so they will understand why they were called togther. It is a brief summary that leaves out some of the details we have seen earlier in this chapter. We should not be too surprised that Festus wants to be seen in the best possible light. What is significant, though, is that Festus very plainly declares that Paul in’t guilty of any serious crime, certainly nothing worthy of death (and this is what the Jews were demanding). So the dilemma: Paul has appealed to Caesar, and Festus must send Paul to Caesar, they have not established any charges against him. The purpose of the meeting is to arrive at what these charges should be, because Festus can’t send Paul to Caesar without any charge at all.

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