Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.…
I. A WAY WHICH HAD TO BE CUT THROUGH JEWISH CRAFT AND MALICE on the one hand, and ROMAN INDIFFERENCE AND AVARICE on the other. Festers: a true heathen, ignorant, worldly, ready to use power for self-aggrandizement, hating the provincial strifes. The Jews: inveterate haters, keeping up their spite for two years; subtle-minded plotters, using Festus's visit to Jerusalem to get Paul into their power; absolutely unprincipled and false, ready to perjure themselves; and shameless in their fanaticism.
II. PROVIDENTIAL INTERPOSITION TO REMOVE OBSTACLES. Festus desired to remain but a short time in Jerusalem. Felix had probably left information which induced him to be cautious in dealing with Paul. Roman pride was roused by the transparent hypocrisy of the Jews. A rebuff of the Jewish leaders at the onset might be of service in ruling the province.
III. THE APPEARANCE OF PAUL IN COURT won upon the ruler's mind, and helped him to listen respectfully to his assertion of innocence. But the critical point was the reference of the case to Roman justice as such. Festus was forgetting himself; Paul brought him hack to his duty, "I stand at Caesar's judgment-seat." One stroke of honest truth smites down a host of lies (cf. Luther at Worms). The assessors were at hand. Festus might have done wrong had he been by himself, but with his council to bear witness, his own life was at stake. "Appeal unto Caesar" was the gate at last opened, and no man could shut it. There was a voice speaking to Paul which he knew could command Rome itself to obey. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.