After two years of wrongful imprisonment, Paul was brought before the new Roman governor and visiting royalty to again face the unprovable charges of the Jewish leaders. Even in the midst of such grandeur and pageantry, Paul’s purpose was clear: rather than defend himself, he seized the opportunity to urge all those present to trust in Jesus as Messiah and Savior. Alistair Begg uses Paul’s experience to illustrate how God can turn even life’s roadblocks into occasions to display His glory and achieve His purposes.
1Now three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. 2And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him, 3asking as a favor against Paul1 that he summon him to Jerusalem—because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way. 4Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly. 5“So,” said he, “let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him.”
6After he stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. 7When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove. 8Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.” 9But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?” 10But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well. 11If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.” 12Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.”
13Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus. 14And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying, “There is a man left prisoner by Felix, 15and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews laid out their case against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him. 16I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. 17So when they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought. 18When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed. 19Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. 20Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. 21But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.” 22Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” said he, “you will hear him.”
23So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25But I found that he had done nothing deserving death. And as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to go ahead and send him. 26But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. 27For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.”
Copyright © 2021, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.