Acts 25 New Testament for Everyone (NTE)
To Caesar You Shall Go
25 So Festus arrived in the province, and after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2 The high priests and the leading men of the Jews appeared before him, laying charges against Paul, and putting a request to him. 3 They wanted him to do a special favour for them and against Paul, by sending for him to be brought up to Jerusalem. They were making a plan to kill him on the way. 4 But Festus answered that he was keeping Paul at Caesarea, and that he himself would shortly be going back there.
5 ‘So’, he said, ‘your officials should come down with me. They can put any accusations of wrongdoing they may have against the man.’
6 He stayed with them for a few days (about eight or ten) and then went down to Caesarea. On the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought to him. 7 When he appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem surrounded him and hurled many serious accusations at him, which they were not able to substantiate. 8 Paul made his response: ‘I have offended neither against the Jews’ law, nor against the Temple, nor against Caesar.’
9 Festus, however, wanted to do a favour to the Jews. ‘Tell me,’ he said to Paul in reply, ‘how would you like to go up to Jerusalem and be tried by me there about these things?’
10 ‘I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal,’ said Paul, ‘which is where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you well know. 11 If I have committed any wrong, or if I have done something which means I deserve to die, I’m not trying to escape death. But if I have done none of the things they are accusing me of, nobody can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.’
12 Felix consulted with his advisors.
‘You have appealed to Caesar’, he said, ‘and to Caesar you shall go.’
Agrippa and Bernice
13 After some days King Agrippa came to Caesarea, with Bernice, to greet Festus. 14 They spent several days there, and during that time Festus put to the king the whole matter of Paul and the case against him.
‘I have a man here’, he said, ‘who was left by Felix as a prisoner. 15 When I was up in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the Jewish elders came before me and asked me to pass sentence on him. 16 My response was that it is not our Roman custom to hand anyone over until the accused has had a chance to look his accusers in the face and make a defence against the charges. 17 So they came down here, and I didn’t postpone the business, but sat in court the next day and commanded the man to be brought. 18 His accusers stood there and brought charges – but not of the sort of wrongdoing I had been expecting. 19 It turned out to have to do with various wranglings concerning their own religion, and about some dead man called Jesus whom Paul asserted was alive. 20 I simply didn’t know what to do about all this dispute, and so I asked him if he would like to go up to Jerusalem and be judged there about these things. 21 But Paul then appealed for his case to be sent up to His Majesty! So I gave the order that he should be kept under guard until I can send him to Caesar.’
22 ‘I should like to hear this man for myself,’ said Agrippa to Festus.
‘Very well,’ said Festus. ‘You shall do so tomorrow.’
23 On the next day, Agrippa and Bernice came with great ceremony, and entered the audience chamber. With them came the tribunes and the leading men of the city. Festus gave the order, and Paul was brought in.
24 ‘King Agrippa’, said Festus, ‘and all of you assembled here, you see this man. The whole multitude of the Jews appealed to me about him, both in Jerusalem and here. They shouted that it wasn’t right to let him live. 25 But I found that he had done nothing to deserve death, and since he then himself appealed to His Majesty I decided to send him. 26 I don’t have anything definite to write to our Lord and Master about him, and so I’ve brought him here to you, and particularly before you, King Agrippa, so that I may know what to write once we have had a judicial hearing. 27 There seems no sense to me in sending a prisoner without giving some indication of the charges against him.’
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