Paul said, I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains. When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them; and when they had gone aside, they talked among themselves, saying, This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains. Then Agrippa said to Festus, This man might have been set free, if he had not appealed to Cæsar.
King Agrippa had evaded and thus dismissed the apostle’s appeal with His reply: “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” But Paul pursued the matter, wishing to win over the hearts of the king and his audience.
Here we have, amid all the pomp and splendour around, a poor prisoner wishing the king, the governor and prominent persons of the town his own condition, chains apart! Paul obviously wished them the same peace of mind that he possessed, the same heartfelt joy and assurance of one day being with Christ in glory.
Agrippa and Festus terminated the session abruptly. They now knew what Festus might write to Cæsar. Paul was innocent. There was nothing punishable with which to charge him. Agrippa’s opinion was that Paul should be released. But the governor could now no longer issue an order to set him free. The apostle had appealed to Cæsar; so the case no longer lay in Festus’ field of competence. Paul had to be taken to Rome.
(to be continued next Sunday)