ImmerseMessiah NLT - Flipbook - Page 116
At that point Felix, who was quite familiar with the Way, adjourned
the hearing and said, “Wait until Lysias, the garrison commander, arrives.
Then I will decide the case.” He ordered an officer to keep Paul in custody
but to give him some freedom and allow his friends to visit him and take
care of his needs.
A few days later Felix came back with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish.
Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus. As
he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming
day of judgment, Felix became frightened. “Go away for now,” he replied.
“When it is more convenient, I’ll call for you again.” He also hoped that Paul
would bribe him, so he sent for him quite often and talked with him.
After two years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left
Paul in prison.
Three days after Festus arrived in Caesarea to take over his new responsibilities, he left for Jerusalem, where the leading priests and other Jewish
leaders met with him and made their accusations against Paul. They asked
Festus as a favor to transfer Paul to Jerusalem (planning to ambush and
kill him on the way). But Festus replied that Paul was at Caesarea and
he himself would be returning there soon. So he said, “Those of you in
authority can return with me. If Paul has done anything wrong, you can
make your accusations.”
About eight or ten days later Festus returned to Caesarea, and on the
following day he took his seat in court and ordered that Paul be brought
in. When Paul arrived, the Jewish leaders from Jerusalem gathered around
and made many serious accusations they couldn’t prove.
Paul denied the charges. “I am not guilty of any crime against the Jewish
laws or the Temple or the Roman government,” he said.
Then Festus, wanting to please the Jews, asked him, “Are you willing to
go to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there?”
But Paul replied, “No! This is the official Roman court, so I ought to be
tried right here. You know very well I am not guilty of harming the Jews.
If I have done something worthy of death, I don’t refuse to die. But if I
am innocent, no one has a right to turn me over to these men to kill me.
I appeal to Caesar!”
Festus conferred with his advisers and then replied, “Very well! You
have appealed to Caesar, and to Caesar you will go!”
A few days later King Agrippa arrived with his sister, Bernice, to pay their
respects to Festus. During their stay of several days, Festus discussed Paul’s