"I Appeal Unto Caesar"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 578

Context: In The Acts of the Apostles we have the only extant contemporary account of the Christian Church in its beginning and early growth. Acts was evidently written by the same person who wrote Luke; he may or may not have been Luke the physician. In any case it is probable that Luke supplied much of the author's information. The book is a memorable record of hardship and devotion to an ideal, and it records the evolution of Christianity from a sect of Judaism to an independent religion. The story of Paul and his missionary work is given in Chapters 15 through 28. His travels in Syria, Greece, Asia Minor and Israel are covered. He faces many difficulties, and is twice the focal point of riots, in Thessalonica and Ephesus. At length he feels he must go to Jerusalem, and, in spite of warnings, makes the journey. Arrived there, he goes to the temple and is recognized and accused by people who have seen him in Asia Minor. Manhandled by a mob, he is turned over to the centurions. Asking the captain for leave to speak, he tells the people how he became a Christian; they are not receptive, and he is saved from a scourging only because he is a Roman citizen. He is released the next day and examined before his accusers. Another scene of disorder results, and the captain is forced to return Paul to prison in order to save his life. On the following day forty of the Pharisees swear to kill him the next time he is brought before them. The captain, warned, sends Paul under guard to Felix, Roman governor in Cæsarea. The latter postpones judgment, and presently Ananias and his elders appear with an orator named Tertullus who accuses Paul again. Judgment is again postponed; Paul is well treated but confined to the premises. Eventually Felix's term of office expires, and his successor, Festus, inherits the prisoner. The accusations are renewed, and Paul is once more commanded to appear before the seat of judgment.

And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Cæsarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.
While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Cæsar, have I offended any thing at all.
But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?
Then said Paul, I stand at Cæsar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Cæsar.
Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Cæsar? unto Cæsar shalt thou go.
And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Cæsarea to salute Festus.
And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, . . .

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