Acts 25:1-12 (web)
Paul's Trial by Festus
after three days went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
25:2 Then the high priest and the principal men of the Jews
informed him against Paul, and they begged him,
25:3 asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem;
plotting to kill him on the way.
25:4 However Festus answered that Paul should be kept in custody at
Festus was less aware of the situation with Paul than Felix. For to send him to Jerusalem meant death one way or another. His trial of Paul seems unprejudiced. Though the Jews falsely accused him, it appears that the testimony they offered was not reckoned proof of itself but simply allegations. Being tried by a Roman Paul made the point of not having offended against Caesar. Interesting that it was possible to live the Christian life under an oppressive pagan system of government and yet not offend. Christianity is not a political movement. It does not advocate any particular form of government. And it certainly does not incite rebellion against the established government. (Contrary to the claims of Liberation Theology) Yes at times there will be conflicts such as when Caesar insists he be worshipped as a god, but such cases arise only when the authorities go outside their legitimate realm of authority.
Paul operates within the Roman system of government under which God had placed him. Appealing to Caesar was not contrary to the Christian faith, for Caesar had been appointed as a legitimate authority figure by God. His appeal to Caesar was right in line with the Lord's direction in Acts 23 "for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome." Thus Paul finally played this trump card exerting his right as a Roman citizen in order to fulfill the Lord's purpose.
Paul appears also to be a death penalty advocate as he reveals
in verse 11. And so also does the thief on the cross who said, "We are
punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve." Luke
23:41 And while the Law of Moses of course also advocates the death
penalty, yet what is interesting in these cases is that they are exercised
not under a Mosaic Theocracy, but rather under a pagan system of government
in accordance with their laws.