Paul appeals to Caesar to avoid a plot to assassinate him.
6. Jewish leaders, Festus and Paul.
God planned this window of time for Paul to connect with Felix, then Festus, King Agrippa, Bernice, Caesar, and the believers in Rome.
Felix should have released Paul, but he didn’t because he expected a bribe.
Festus replaced Felix and served as governor from 59 to 61 A.D.
Guzik points out that while Felix was undoubtedly a bad man, history tells us Festus was basically a good man. He governed well, despite all the problems Felix left behind.1
When Festus took over as governor, he went to Jerusalem in the Judean province. There, the high priest and other prominent Jewish leaders explained their grievances against Paul. Even though the event occurred two years prior, they still wanted to kill Paul.
7. Paul’s response
Festus wanted to gain favor with Jews, so he asked Paul if he was willing to face his accusers in Jerusalem. We don’t know if Festus was aware of their plot.
Paul remembered the conspiracy to ambush him before he could meet with his accusers.
Even if they didn’t kill him en route, knowing he would never get a fair trial before the Jews, and knowing his rights as a Roman citizen, he appealed to Caesar Nero.
The right of a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar was a sacred thing. Any magistrate who disregarded an appeal to Caesar would suffer the severest condemnation of the Roman government. Paul’s appeal to Caesar obligated Festus to send Paul to Rome to stand trial before Caesar and also took him “off the hook” with the Jews. Once the appeal was made, the matter was out of Festus’ hands. The Jews could not condemn him for not bowing to their demands.2
Paul’s desire to go to Rome.
The Lord had also told Paul that he would testify about Him in Rome (Acts 23:11). And Paul had written the believers in Rome before his trip to Jerusalem, saying that he longed to see them (Romans 1:11). That was over two years before this. It’s possible that Paul was just tired of waiting, and he invoked his right for a trial before Caesar to speed the process up.2
8. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial (James 1:12)
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.1 Peter 4:12 (ESV)
This time in prison allowed Paul time to rest, recharge, and write letters.
During his times in prison, he wrote most of the letters that comprise our New Testament. His letters trained disciples in all the assemblies established during his mission trips and by other apostles.
What a timely question! For the benefit of future readers, as of this writing, the US and other countries are under orders to stay at home and isolate ourselves to slow down the COVID 19 pandemic.
At times, I’ve struggle to be at peace, especially when a friend of my daughter-in-law shared her parents’ struggle with this disease. The father, who was my age, didn’t make it.
I’m spending more time in prayer, praying for many extended families and friends by name.
It’s been harder to focus on Bible study, even though I’m reading and looking up verses often.
Worship music helps me engage with God’s comforting presence.
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2 AWM Living Commentary
Unless noted, all Scripture taken from public domain WEB translation.
My answers, research, and notes for BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 26 Day 3
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