So, after staying among them for about a week no more than 10 days, he went back down to Caesarea. The next day, taking his seat on the tribunal, he ordered that Paul be brought in. And when he had come in, the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem were there standing around him. And though they brought many serious charges against him they were unable to prove them. Paul said this in his defence, "I have not offended in the slightest against the law of the Jewish people, against the temple, or against Caesar."
     But Festus, wishing to [find a way to] do the Jews a favour, said to Paul, "Are you perhaps willing to go up to Jerusalem, and there be tried before me on these charges before me?"
     To this Paul replied, "I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried; to the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know. If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death; but if there is nothing in their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar."
     Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, "You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go." - Acts 25:6-12/transliteration by Bruce C Wearne


APPEAL TO ROME: Nero (this bust is at the Capitoline Museum in Rome) was emperor at the time Paul made his appeal. PICTURE: cjh1452000/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0


The accusation hearing before Caesar's tribunal is held in Caesarea. Festus gives Paul the opportunity of being tried in Jerusalem. Paul will have none of that and appeals to Caesar. 

Luke tells what Paul did not fail to notice: Festus was in a difficult position. He wanted a resolution to enhance his status -let the case be tried in Jerusalem.

The Jewish leaders would thank him for granting their wish. And by suggesting that the provincial tribunal be held there, he may well have decided that Paul would win. The account bristles with insight about the way men deceive themselves. Circumstances can be massaged to appear differently from what they really are, but Paul had defended himself: "You cannot say I have offended against the law of the Jews, the temple, or Caesar!"

Paul's defence was impressive but Festus wanted to ingratiate himself with Paul's opponents.

"How would it be, Paul, if I was to convene Caesar's tribunal in Jerusalem?"

Could this suggest a possible victory for "the Way"?

If we were among Paul's friends we might be tempted to think so.

But Paul did not agree. He knew that Festus was taking the same path his predecessor had taken. Festus was trying to curry favour with the Jewish leadership. Besides, these Jewish leaders had earlier countenanced the plot against him. Might he have learned of their latter-day plot as well?

We do not know who told Luke about the ongoing plot on Paul's life. It may have been Paul. It may once again have been Paul's nephew. We are not told. But what we are told is that Paul appealed to Caesar. 

Festus' reply indicates his relief. As a Roman citizen, Paul had every right to make this appeal. Maybe Festus was starting to feel out of his depth. But Paul's appeal meant the issue was no longer his to resolve. Now, what are the other items on that list?