6 After 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. 7 When 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. 8 Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.” 9 But 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?” 10 But 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. 11 If 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.” 12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.” (Acts 25:6–12 (ESV)
Paul received a new trial. The Jews leveled the same accusations against him, but again they could not prove or provide evidence to their charges. Paul again defended himself and denied that he had violated Jewish law, desecrated the Jewish temple, or attempted either to threaten or overthrow Roman authority.
However, instead of Governor Felix presiding, it was Governor Festus. Festus, as a shrewd politician, endeavored to please the Jews by proposing that Paul stand trial in Jerusalem. He asked Paul, ““Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?”
Paul had enough. He had been in jail for two years, and had endured two trials. He refused a third trial in Jerusalem, but rather invoked his right as a Roman citizen to have a trial in the capital city. He appealed his case to Caesar.
Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “Though he is willing to be punished even by death if found guilty of a crime, Paul will not accept transfer to the Jewish authorities while his guilt is unproven. Impatient for a decision, indignant over his treatment, and perhaps fearful of the Jews’ malice, He takes the fateful step of appealing his case to the emperor.”
After Festus conferred with his council, he agreed to send Paul to Rome. He said, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.”
Paul was a Roman citizen and possessed certain rights under Roman law. Depending upon the country you currently reside, you also have rights as a citizen of that country. However, we must all agree that no earthly court of law is perfect. Pray today that God would give justices, judges, lawyers and other legal offices a love for the truth.
Soli deo Gloria!