25:1 Festus therefore, having come into the province, 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 Caesarea, and that he himself was about to depart shortly.
25:5 “Let them therefore,” said he, “that are in power among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong in the man, let them accuse him.”
25:6 When he had stayed among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he sat on the judgment seat, and commanded Paul to be brought.
25:7 When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing against him many and grievous charges which they could not prove,
25:8 while he said in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I sinned at all.”
25:9 But Festus, desiring to gain favor with the Jews, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem, and be judged by me there concerning these things?”
25:10 But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also know very well.
25:11 For if I have done wrong, and have committed anything worthy of death, I don’t refuse to die; but if none of those things is true that they accuse me of, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar!”
25:12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you shall go.”
25:13 Now when some days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea, and greeted Festus.
25:14 As he stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix;
25:15 about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, asking for a sentence against him.
25:16 To whom I answered that it is not the custom of the Romans to give up any man to destruction, before the accused has met the accusers face to face, and has had opportunity to make his defense concerning the matter laid against him.
25:17 When therefore they had come together here, I didn’t delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought.
25:18 Concerning whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no charge of such things as I supposed;
25:19 but had certain questions against him about their own religion, and about one Jesus, who was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
25:20 Being perplexed how to inquire concerning these things, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters.
25:21 But when Paul had appealed to be kept for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be kept until I could send him to Caesar.”
25:22 Agrippa said to Festus, “I also would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he said, “you shall hear him.”
25:23 So on the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and they had entered into the place of hearing with the commanding officers and principal men of the city, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in.
25:24 Festus said, “King Agrippa, and all men who are here present with us, you see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
25:25 But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and as he himself appealed to the emperor I determined to send him.
25:26 Of whom I have no certain thing to write to my lord. Therefore I have brought him forth before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, that, after examination, I may have something to write.
25:27 For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to also specify the charges against him.”
26:1 Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand, and made his defense.
26:2 “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, that I am to make my defense before you this day concerning all the things that I am accused by the Jews,
26:3 especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.
26:4 “Indeed, all the Jews know my way of life from my youth up, which was from the beginning among my own nation and at Jerusalem;
26:5 having known me from the first, if they are willing to testify, that after the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
26:6 Now I stand here to be judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers,
26:7 which our twelve tribes, earnestly serving night and day, hope to attain. Concerning this hope I am accused by the Jews, King Agrippa!
26:8 Why is it judged incredible with you, if God does raise the dead?
26:9 “I myself most certainly thought that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
26:10 This I also did in Jerusalem. I both shut up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them.
26:11 Punishing them often in all the synagogues, I tried to make them blaspheme. Being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
26:12 “Whereupon as I traveled to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priests,
26:13 at noon, O king, I saw on the way a light from the sky, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who traveled with me.
26:14 When we had all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
26:15 “I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
26:16 But arise, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you a servant and a witness both of the things which you have seen, and of the things which I will reveal to you;
26:17 delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I send you,
26:18 to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
26:19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
26:20 but declared first to them of Damascus, at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance.
26:21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple, and tried to kill me.
26:22 Having therefore obtained the help that is from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would happen,
26:23 how the Christ must suffer, and how, by the resurrection of the dead, he would be first to proclaim light both to these people and to the Gentiles.”
26:24 As he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are crazy! Your great learning is driving you insane!”
26:25 But he said, “I am not crazy, most excellent Festus, but boldly declare words of truth and reasonableness.
26:26 For the king knows of these things, to whom also I speak freely. For I am persuaded that none of these things is hidden from him, for this has not been done in a corner.
26:27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.”
26:28 Agrippa said to Paul, “With a little persuasion are you trying to make me a Christian?”
26:29 Paul said, “I pray to God, that whether with little or with much, not only you, but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these bonds.”
26:30 The king rose up with the governor, and Bernice, and those who sat with them.
26:31 When they had withdrawn, they spoke one to another, saying, “This man does nothing worthy of death or of bonds.”
26:32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

from Daily #Bible Readings (WEB)