3/31/17 To Caesar You Shall Go!

Festus knows that Felix, his predecessor, was removed from office because of complaints against him from the Jews.  Although he is a fairer man than Felix and would like to settle this justly, he has no wish to meet the same fate that Felix met.  He hesitates, trying to decide the best course of action.  The Jews’ accusations seem baseless, and more than that, seem to be matters that have nothing to do with Roman law.  But still…He turns to Paul and asks, “Would you be willing to return to Jerusalem with me to stand trial there?”  Paul appraises him for a moment, and replies, “There is no reason for me to go and stand trial in Jerusalem.  I have done nothing against the Jews, as you can easily ascertain for yourself.  These people who accuse me cannot produce credible witnesses to prove any of their accusations, whereas I can produce many witnesses to testify on my behalf.  Therefore, I should not be given over to those whose only desire is to kill me in order to silence me.  If I had done what these men are accusing me of doing, I would not object to a penalty of death, because it would be deserved.  But I have done nothing wrong.  I am a Roman citizen, and I claim my rights as such.  If you insist upon sending me to my death unjustly, I must appeal to Caesar.”  Festus is offended.  He speaks with his council briefly, then turns back to Paul.  “So you want to appeal to Caesar?  Then I shall send you there and be done with you.”  Festus knows that the wheels of justice turn very slowly in Rome, and even before Caesar, there is no guarantee that Paul will be given a fair trial.  But Paul has provoked his anger, so Festus has no qualms about getting the man out of his hair.

Acts 25:9-12

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