Acts 25

Feb 9, 2020 // By:Dave // No Comment


  • Paul has been in prison for two years in Caesarea, under Felix.
  • Felix has heard the gospel multiple times from Paul, as a result of calling him repeatedly hoping Paul would offer him a bribe for his freedom
  • Sanhedrin still wants to kill Paul
  • those 40 men who took an oath to neither eat or drink before Paul is dead, either broke their oath or are dead.
  • Felix, is being replaced by Festus (and left Paul in prison for as a favor to the Sanhedrin)

Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus

  • lived 37 – 68 AD 
  • Roman emperor from 54 to 68 AD
  • became emperor at 17
  • killed his mother, Agrippina five years into his reign
  • killed his first wife, Octavia
  • killed his second wife, Sabina
  • burned part of Rome in 64 AD to rebuild the center, but blamed the fire on christians living in Rome.
  • Nero’s name was Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus
  • Nero’s father, a roman consul, died when he was 3.
  • His mother was banished  by emperor Caligula, and he stayed under the care of his aunt.
  • in AD 41 Caligula is murdered, Claudius rises to power, Nero’s mother returns, marries Emperor Claudius in AD 49 (who was her uncle), 
  • Claudius adopts the 12 year old boy and gives him the new name Nero.
  • Nero’s father Claudius will later die of poisoning
  • Nero leverages the Praetorian Guard to aid in becoming Emperor 
  • Nero marries his stepsister Octavia
  • Nero’s brother Britannicus (natural son of the emperor, dies shortly after Nero becomes emperor
  • Nero kills his mother (saying she was going to poison him)
  • Nero’s first wife, doughter of Claudius, is what gave him true legitimate claim to the throne. She was barren. He divorced her, accused her of adultery, and had her killed (presumably, to prevent her from marrying someone else and creating a competitor for the throne)
  • Nero’s second wife was already pregnant when he married her, the baby girl died at 4 months old, she got pregnant again, and presumably died after Nero kicked her in the belly.
  • July 18th, 64 AD  a fire started in the center of Rome (circus maximus)

Tacitus wrote:

“Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace, 

Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt [covered in oil and lit ablaze as a “Roman Candle”], to serve as nightly illumination when daylight had expired.”

 – by the time we get to the fire in Rome, Nero was already losing popular support and within the year, the Praetorian Guard renounced their support of Him.

  • the Roman empire would see a slow crumble from this time forward,  (short lived emperors, internal power struggles, loss of confidence by the people, etc)

1 Festus then, having arrived in the province, three days later went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.

2 And the chief priests and the leading men of the Jews brought charges against Paul, and they were urging him,

3 requesting a concession against Paul, that he might have him brought to Jerusalem (at the same time, setting an ambush to kill him on the way).

Festus arrived in Caesaria, hears about Paul’s case and other cases, travels to Jerusalem to deal with administrative issues (including Paul’s case), and the Sanhedrin is still trying to get Paul back to Jerusalem to kill him )   

hate is a powerful enemy (and it does not die of old age)

If we have hate in our hearts, it does no good to wait for it to die off, it does not

it festers, it grows stronger, more demanding.

Hate must be killed by it’s host.

4 Festus then answered that Paul was being kept in custody at Caesarea and that he himself was about to leave shortly.

5 “Therefore,” he *said, “let the influential men among you go there with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them prosecute him.”

6 After he had spent not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought.

this is the Paul,

  • who had trained under Gamaliel
  • pharisee in the Jerusalem council
  • hunting down followers of the way and killing them
  • likely had made plans in the past to become high priest, leader of the sanhedrin
  • now in chains, before roman procurator, accused by sanhedrin, will be before Herod Agrippa II, facing a death penalty.

this was not his plan !

what happened to Paul’s plan for success ?

7 After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him which they could not prove,

8 while Paul said in his own defense, “I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these charges?”

so now Festus is also tired of this nonsense and tries to get Paul, roman citizen, to be willing to subject himself to a jewlsh trial, (removing himself from Roman protection)

10 But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know.

This is the fourth time Paul has faced these charges
(with no substantial proof given at any time)

11 “If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.”

what does Paul mean by “I appeal to Caesar” ?

12 Then when Festus had conferred with his council, he answered, “You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go.”

13 Now when several days had elapsed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus.

as they should, now they have a new Roman procurator to deal with, so they need to put in a visit and keeps things smooth (since he can have Herod removed from office)

This is Herod Agrippa II (lineage of Herod’s, all corrupt) who became king at 17

  • Herod the Great (his great grandfather)
    • killed male children under 2 yrs old in and around Bethlehem Matt 2:16-18
    • Catholic church proclaims 14000 martyrs as a result (not martyrs, they are sacrifices)
    • Bethlehem was a small town, evangelicals estimate more like 15-20 boys
    • 1.5 years after the census (most visitors had already left)
    • which is why this incident is overlooked by many historians of the time

When the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity, only 123 men settled in Bethlehem (Ezra 2:21).It probably did not have more than a thousand citizens at the time of Christ’s birth.It has been estimated that, at the beginning of the first century, there likely would have been only about ten to thirty boy babies under the age of two in the little hamlet (Michael J. Wilkins, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

  • Herod Antipas (Herod the 2nd) (his grandfather)
    • Herodias (Herod’s brothers wife) Mark 6:18
    • stepdaughter Salome
    • killed John the Baptist
      • danced for Herod at a birthday banquet
      • Herod promise “unto the half of my kingdom
      • her mother tells her to ask for John head on a platter Mark 6:25
  • Herod Agrippa I (his father)
    • killed James (was going to kill Peter as well to please the people) Acts 12:3
    • killed by God in Caesaria (Acts 12) for accepting worship Acts 12:22
  • Herod Agrippa II
    • incestuous relationship with his sister Bernice
    • (she will eventually leave him to be a mistress to emperor Vespasian___ and his son Titus

14 While they were spending many days there, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man who was left as a prisoner by Felix;

15 and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him.

16 “I answered them that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over any man before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has an opportunity to make his defense against the charges.

17 “So after they had assembled here, I did not delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought before me.

18 “When the accusers stood up, they began bringing charges against him not of such crimes as I was expecting,

19 but they simply had some points of disagreement with him about their own religion and about a dead man, Jesus, whom Paul asserted to be alive.

20 “Being at a loss how to investigate such matters, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there stand trial on these matters.

21 “But when Paul appealed to be held in custody for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him to be kept in custody until I send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I also would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he *said, “you shall hear him.”

23 So, on the next day when Agrippa came together with Bernice amid great pomp, and entered the auditorium accompanied by the commanders and the prominent men of the city, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in.

24 Festus *said, “King Agrippa, and all you gentlemen here present with us, you see this man about whom all the people of the Jews appealed to me, both at Jerusalem and here, loudly declaring that he ought not to live any longer.

25 “But I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death; and since he himself appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him.

26 “Yet I have nothing definite about him to write to my lord. Therefore I have brought him before you all and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the investigation has taken place, I may have something to write.

27 “For it seems absurd to me in sending a prisoner, not to indicate also the charges against him.”

how can I send him to plead his case before the Emperor when I don’t even have a case o write up to send with him ?  the emperor will think I am a fool or be offended that I am wasting his time.

What case can we write up for Festus ?

How can we help Nero understand why Paul is going to be standing before him ?

Why is testimony so effective ?

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