For an understanding of what is going on, we need to go back and read Acts 21:27-33, “And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him (Paul) in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut. And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul. Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done.” Even though Paul had been warned against going to Jerusalem, his heart led him there and very soon afterwards we find him taken by the citizens and accused of teaching “all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple.”

Just as the people were about to kill Paul, the chief captain stepped in, kept them from killing Paul, and began questioning him. In verse 40, the chief captain gave Paul permission to defend himself before the people. Paul makes his defense in Acts 22:1-21. In verses 22-30, the uproar of the crowd grows stronger and the chief captain decides to scourge Paul. He finds out that Paul is a Roman citizen and then demands that the chief priests and their council question Paul. After Paul’s time before the council, the chief captain learns that there is a plot to kill Paul, so he sends 200 soldiers to escort Paul to Caesarea to appear before Felix the governor. Felix winds us keeping Paul in prison and we read in Acts 24:27, “But AFTER TWO YEARS Porcius Festus came into Felix’ room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.” Festus succeeded Felix; and desiring to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul in prison. He let Festus deal with him.

In Acts 25:6, Paul’s trial before Festus begins. Paul, as a Roman citizen says, “I appear unto Caesar” in verse 11. After a ‘certain’ amount of days, King Agrippa and his wife Bernice come to Caesarea and agree to hear Paul’s case. In verses 24-27, Festus explains to King Agrippa that Paul had appealed to appear before Caesar. Festus says in verse 26, “I have nothing certain to write to my lord concerning him. Therefore I have brought him out before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the examination has taken place I may have something to write.” (NKJV) Festus had no real charges against Paul. He had broken no laws. He expresses to Agrippa that he hopes to have something to charge Paul with after Agrippa examines him. Festus had said to Agrippa in Acts 25:18-19, “Against whom (Paul) when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed: But had certain questions against him of THEIR OWN SUPERSTITION, AND OF ONE JESUS, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.” The charges against Paul were religious in nature and Festus did not know how to answer the people. Paul had broken no criminal laws. Festus had hoped that, with his understanding of the Jewish religion, Agrippa would know what charges could be brought against Paul.

At the end of his trial, we read in Acts 26:32, “Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.” Agrippa would have released Paul, but because, as a Roman citizen, he had appealed to Caesar, he could to nothing but send him to Caesar, who was Nero.

I have given such a brief overview of the incidents that led to Paul’s trial, and of the trials themselves. I encourage to read Acts 21-28 for the incredible history of the Apostle Paul. (298.4)