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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. 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, 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.” 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 before me concerning these things?” 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. 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.” 12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!”

 

At Caesarea, Festus hears Paul’s case in verses 6-12. Luke gives no details of this subsequent trial except a few excerpts from the case.

25:6

And when he had remained [in Jerusalem] among them [Jewish leaders] more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day, sitting on the judgment seat, he commanded Paul to be brought.

Festus stayed in Jerusalem for ten days, then went to Caesarea to hear Paul’s case. After sitting on his judgment seat, he ordered Paul brought to court.

25:7

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,

The Jewish leadership traveled from Jerusalem to lay severe and numerous charges against Paul, but they could not prove their case.

25:8

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.”

Festus asked Paul whether he had committed the charges against him. The apostle quickly and categorically asserted that he did nothing of what the Jews charged him. He also affirmed that he was not an opponent of Caesar.

25:9

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 before me concerning these things?”

To placate the Jews (Acts 24:9), Festus asked Paul whether he would go to Jerusalem for a trial. The governor himself would adjudicate the case there. The attempt to delay the apostle’s situation again was the same reason Paul remained under arrest for two years.

25:10

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.

Paul replied to Festus that he ought to be judged by Roman law, not Jewish law. He was presently under Roman jurisprudence in Caesarea. As a Roman citizen, he had the right to a Roman trial (Acts 22:25-29). The phrase “as you very well know” asserted that Festus knew that he had not wronged the Jews.

25:11

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.”

In this verse, Paul makes a formal appeal to be tried by the Roman government, so he appealed “to Caesar” (Nero, AD 54-68). Since he was innocent of any crime against Rome, it was not legal for him to be tried by any court other than Rome’s. Hypothetically, if he did commit a capital crime against Rome, he would deserve to die at the hands of the government. After Festus heard Paul’s appeal, he had no choice but to transfer his case to Rome.

25:12

Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar [Nero] you shall go!”

After Paul appealed to Caesar, Festus decided to send the apostle to Rome for a formal court trial there, making that choice after conferring with the Jewish council.

PRINCIPLE:

Christ will sit on a judgment seat one day to evaluate the believer’s walk with God.

APPLICATION:

Second Corinthians 5:10 uses the term “judgment seat” (Mt 25:6) for when Christ will judge all believers for their walk with God while in time on earth. The judgment seat of Christ is not to determine whether a person is a Christian but to evaluate their walk with God and the quality of their life as a believer on earth. There will also be another and separate Great White Throne trial for non-Christians, where He will assign them to a lost eternity.

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