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Trial in Caesarea[]

Paul’s defense before Festus

Acts 25:1-12

Therefore Festus, after arriving in the province and taking charge, went up three days later to Jerusalem from Caes·a·re′a. And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews gave him information against Paul. So they began to beg Festus as a favor* to send for Paul to come to Jerusalem. But they were planning to ambush Paul and kill him along the road. However, Festus answered that Paul was to be kept in Caes·a·re′a and that he himself was about to go back there shortly. “So let those who are in power among you,” he said, “come down with me and accuse him if, indeed, the man has done something wrong.”

So when he had spent not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caes·a·re′a, and the next day he sat down on the judgment seat and commanded Paul to be brought in. When he came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing against him many serious charges that they were unable to prove.

But Paul said in defense: “Neither against the Law of the Jews nor against the temple nor against Caesar have I committed any sin.”
Festus, desiring to gain favor with the Jews, said in reply to Paul: “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and be judged before me there concerning these things?”
But Paul said: “I am standing before the judgment seat of Caesar, where I ought to be judged. I have done no wrong to the Jews, of which you are also becoming well-aware. If I am really a wrongdoer and have committed anything deserving of death, I do not beg off from dying; but if there is no substance to the accusations these men have made against me, no man has the right to hand me over to them as a favor. I appeal to Caesar!”
Then Festus, after speaking with the assembly of counselors, replied: “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you will go.”

Festus consults King Agrippa

Acts 25:13-22

After some days had passed, A·grip′pa the king and Bernice arrived in Caes·a·re′a for a courtesy visit to Festus. 14 Since they were spending a number of days there, Festus presented Paul’s case to the king, saying: “There is a man who was left as a prisoner by Felix, 15 and when I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought information about him,+ asking for a judgment of condemnation against him. 16 But I replied to them that it is not Roman procedure to hand any man over as a favor before the accused man meets his accusers face-to-face and gets a chance to speak in his defense concerning the complaint.+ 17 So when they arrived here, I did not delay, but the next day I sat down on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought in. 18 Taking the stand, the accusers did not charge him with any of the wicked things I had expected concerning him.+ 19 They simply had certain disputes with him concerning their own worship of the deity*+ and concerning a man named Jesus, who was dead but who Paul kept asserting was alive.+ 20 Being at a loss as to how to handle this dispute, I asked if he would like to go to Jerusalem and be judged there concerning these matters.+ 21 But when Paul appealed to be kept in custody for the decision by the August One,*+ I commanded him to be held until I should send him on to Caesar.”

A·grip′pa then said to Festus: “I would like to hear the man myself.”+ “Tomorrow,” he said, “you will hear him.” 23 So the next day A·grip′pa and Bernice came with much pompous show and entered the audience chamber together with military commanders as well as the prominent men in the city; and when Festus gave the command, Paul was brought in. 24 And Festus said: “King A·grip′pa and all you who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish populace have petitioned me both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.+ 25 But I perceived that he had done nothing deserving of death.+ So when this man himself appealed to the August One, I decided to send him. 26 But I have nothing certain to write about him to my Lord. So I brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King A·grip′pa, so that after the judicial examination has taken place, I might have something to write. 27 For it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner and not also to indicate the charges against him.”

Chapter 26 A·grip′pa+ said to Paul: “You are permitted to speak in your own behalf.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to say in his defense:

“Concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews,+ King A·grip′pa, I consider myself happy that it is before you I am to make my defense this day, 3 especially because you are an expert on all the customs as well as the controversies among the Jews. Therefore, I beg you to hear me patiently.

“Indeed, the manner of life I led from youth up among my people* and in Jerusalem is well-known by all the Jews+ 5 who were previously acquainted with me, if they would be willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our form of worship,+ I lived as a Pharisee.+ 6 But now for the hope of the promise that was made by God to our forefathers,+ I stand on trial; 7 this is the same promise our 12 tribes are hoping to see fulfilled by intensely rendering him sacred service night and day. Concerning this hope I am accused by Jews,+ O King.

“Why is it considered* unbelievable among you that God raises up the dead? 9 I, for one, was convinced that I should commit many acts of opposition against the name of Jesus the Naz·a·rene′. 10 This is exactly what I did in Jerusalem, and I locked up many of the holy ones in prisons,+ for I had received authority from the chief priests;+ and when they were to be executed, I cast my vote against them. 11 By punishing them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to recant; and since I was extremely furious with them, I went so far as to persecute them even in outlying cities.

“While doing this as I was traveling to Damascus with authority and a commission from the chief priests, 13 I saw at midday on the road, O King, a light beyond the brilliance of the sun flash from heaven around me and around those traveling with me.

And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice say to me in the Hebrew language: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? To keep kicking against the goads* makes it hard for you.’ 15 But I said: ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said: ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand on your feet. This is why I have appeared to you, to choose you as a servant and a witness both of things you have seen and things I will make you see respecting me.+ 17 And I will rescue you from this people and from the nations, to whom I am sending you+ 18 to open their eyes,+ to turn them from darkness+ to light+ and from the authority of Satan+ to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins+ and an inheritance among those sanctified by their faith in me.’

“Therefore, King A·grip′pa, I did not become disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but to those in Damascus+ first and then to those in Jerusalem,+ and over all the country of Ju·de′a, and also to the nations, I was bringing the message that they should repent and turn to God by doing works that befit repentance.+ 21 This is why the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.+ 22 However, because I have experienced the help that is from God, I continue to this day bearing witness to both small and great, saying nothing except what the Prophets as well as Moses stated was going to take place+— 23 that the Christ was to suffer+ and that as the first to be resurrected from the dead,+ he was going to proclaim light both to this people and to the nations.”+

Now as Paul was saying these things in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice: “You are going out of your mind, Paul! Great learning is driving you out of your mind!” 25 But Paul said: “I am not going out of my mind, Your Excellency Festus, but I am speaking words of truth and of a sound mind. 26 For a fact, the king to whom I am speaking so freely well knows about these things; I am convinced that not one of these things escapes his notice, for none of this has been done in a corner.+ 27 Do you, King A·grip′pa, believe the Prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 But A·grip′pa said to Paul: “In a short time you would persuade me to become a Christian.” 29 At this Paul said: “I wish to God that whether in a short time or in a long time, not only you but also all those who hear me today would become men such as I am, with the exception of these prison bonds.”

Then the king rose and so did the governor and Bernice and the men seated with them. But as they were leaving, they began saying to one another: “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or prison bonds.”+ 32 A·grip′pa then said to Festus: “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.”+

Sea of Adria[]

Acts Chapter 27

Now as it was decided for us to sail away to Italy, they handed Paul and some other prisoners over to an army officer named Julius, of the unit of Au·gus′tus. Going aboard a ship from Ad·ra·myt′ti·um that was about to sail to ports along the coast of the province of Asia, we set sail; Ar·is·tar′chus, a Mac·e·do′ni·an from Thes·sa·lo·ni′ca, was with us.

The next day we landed at Si′don, and Julius treated Paul with kindness* and permitted him to go to his friends and enjoy their care. And putting out to sea from there, we sailed under the shelter of Cy′prus, because the winds were against us.

Then we navigated through the open sea along Ci·li′cia and Pam·phyl′i·a and put into port at My′ra in Ly′ci·a. There the army officer found a ship from Alexandria that was sailing for Italy, and he made us board it.

Then after sailing on slowly quite a number of days, we came to Cni′dus with difficulty. Because the wind did not let us make headway, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Sal·mo′ne. And sailing with difficulty along the coast, we came to a place called Fair Havens, which was near the city of La·se′a. A considerable time had passed and by now it was hazardous to navigate, because even the fast of Atonement Day was already over, so Paul made a recommendation to them: “Men, I can see that this voyage is going to result in damage and great loss not only of the cargo and the ship but also of our lives.”* However, the army officer listened to the pilot and the shipowner rather than to what Paul was saying. Since the harbor was unsuitable for wintering, the majority advised setting sail from there to see if they could somehow make it to spend the winter in Phoenix, a harbor of Crete that opens toward the northeast and toward the southeast.

When the south wind blew softly, they thought they had achieved their purpose, and they lifted anchor and began sailing along Crete close to the shore. After a short time, however, a violent wind called Eu·ro·aq′ui·lo* rushed down on it. As the ship was violently seized and was not able to keep its head against the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. Then we ran under the shelter of a small island called Cau′da, and yet we were hardly able to get the skiff* at the stern of the ship under control. But after hoisting it aboard, they used supports to undergird the ship, and fearing that they would run aground on the Syr′tis,* they lowered the gear and so were driven along. Because we were being violently tossed by the storm, they began to lighten the ship the following day. And on the third day, they threw away the tackling of the ship with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and a violent* storm was battering us, all hope of our being saved finally began to fade.

After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up in their midst and said: “Men, you certainly should have taken my advice and not have put out to sea from Crete and as a result suffered this damage and loss. Still, I now urge you to take courage, for not one* of you will be lost, only the ship will. This night an angel of the God to whom I belong and to whom I render sacred service stood by me and said: ‘Have no fear, Paul. You must stand before Caesar, and look! God has granted to you all those sailing with you.’ So take courage, men, for I believe God that it will be exactly as I was told. However, we must be cast ashore on some island.”

Now when the 14th night fell and we were being tossed about on the Sea of A′dri·a, at midnight the sailors began to suspect that they were getting near to some land. They sounded the depth and found it 20 fathoms,* so they proceeded a short distance and again made a sounding and found it 15 fathoms.* And fearing that we might run aground on the rocks, they cast out four anchors from the stern and began wishing for it to become day. But when the sailors began trying to escape from the ship and were lowering the skiff into the sea under the pretense of intending to let down anchors from the bow, Paul said to the army officer and the soldiers: “Unless these men remain in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.

Now close to daybreak, Paul encouraged them all to take some food, saying: “Today is the 14th day you have been waiting anxiously, and you have gone without taking any food at all. So I encourage you to eat some food; this is in the interests of your safety, for not a hair of the head of any one of you will perish.” After he said this, he took bread, gave thanks to God before them all, broke it, and started eating. So they all took courage and began taking some food themselves. In all we were 276 persons* in the ship. When they had eaten enough food to be satisfied, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat overboard into the sea.

When daylight came, they could not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a beach and were determined to beach the ship there if they could. So they cut away the anchors and let them fall into the sea, at the same time loosening the lashings of the rudder oars; and after hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. When they struck a shoal washed on each side by the sea, they ran the ship aground and the bow got stuck and stayed immovable, but the stern began to be violently broken to pieces by the waves. At this the soldiers decided to kill the prisoners so that no one might swim away and escape. But the army officer was determined to bring Paul safely through and prevented them from carrying out their plan. He commanded those able to swim to jump into the sea and make it to land first, and the rest were to follow, some on planks and some on pieces of the ship. So all were brought safely to land.


Letter to the Hebrews

Apostle Paul writes a letter to the Hebrew Christians in Judea about 61 C.E.

Now I urge you, brothers, to listen patiently to this word of encouragement, for I have written you a short letter. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he comes soon, I will be with him when I see you. Give my greetings to all those who are taking the lead among you and to all the holy ones. Those in Italy send you their greetings. The undeserved kindness be with all of you. (Hebrews 13:22-25)