Governor Felix, who left Paul in prison as a favor to the Jews, was succeeded by Festus. When Festus arrived in Jerusalem, the chief priests and principal men of the Jews urged Festus to summon Paul to Jerusalem so they could ambush Paul along the way. Festus stood firm that Paul is to be kept at Caesarea, where he intends to go, and welcomed those with charges against Paul to come to Caesarea.
When they all arrived at Caesarea, the Jews brought charges against Paul, none of which they could prove. Paul argued that he has done nothing wrong before the Jews and before Roman law, and appealed to Caesar.
Festus granted Paul's request to be sent before Caesar, but felt awkward sending Caesar a prisoner without any concrete charges. King Agrippa arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus. Festus told King Agrippa about Paul's case, and summoned Paul before them once again.
A Prisoner Without Charges
The Jews laying charges before Paul:
The Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against [Paul] that they could not prove. – Acts 25:7
Festus confiding to King Agrippa:
When the accusers stood up, they brought no charges in his case of such evils as I supposed. Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion... – Acts 25:18-19
It's a waste of state resources to keep Paul in prison. There are no legitimate charges, but the state still needs to feed Paul and maintain his cell.
The Jews (not all–just the ones that disagree on resurrection) obviously want Paul dead. I have a feeling that Festus does too, as a favor to the Jews, since the Jews to have a good amount of political clout.
The other possibility is that Festus is concerned about a Roman citizen's safety and keeping Paul to prevent the Jews from harming Paul. A Roman citizen has a lot of privileges that non-Roman citizens don't. They have the right to due process, cannot be beaten before having a trial, and have the right to hear the accusers and offer a defense.
We see a clash between the fear of violating Roman law and the political cloud of the Jews.
Abiding By The Laws of the World
Many Jews envision the coming of their Messiah to be revolutionary. On the extreme side, that might include raining down an army of angels to overthrow the Roman empire and put the Jews on top. Those Jews that have this thirst for violence are looking to rebel against the current government.
On the other hand, Paul faithfully abides by the laws of Roman rule. He doesn't violate nor rebel–therefore, the Jews and the Romans don't have any charges they can bring against him.
Paul is looking beyond earth–he knows that his home is heaven, where he will eventually go. Those Jews who want Paul dead don't share the same vision. Their desire is to rule over the earth.
Let that be a lesson for us–remember that our time on earth is only temporary, for we believers will one day also rise to heaven.
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