7 When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove,
8 while he answered for himself, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”
9 But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?”
10 So Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know.
11 For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!”
The Jews cried out for Paul’s death on this occasion too (v.24).
Again (v.8), Paul answers all the charges against him — heresy, sacrilege and treason.
Caesar (v.10) — Nero, who became Caesar in 54
Caesar’s judgment seat (v.10) — This was an official trial, and Festus was acting as Caesar’s representative.
where I ought to be judged (v.10) — by law and due to his Roman citizenship
as you very well know (v.10) — Festus admits as much to Agrippa (v.25)
I appeal unto Caesar (v.11) = “Caesarem appello” — The Lord had told Paul he would minister in Rome (Acts 23:11) — here was the means.
council (v.12) — Festus’s legal officials and other provincial officers
You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go (v.12) = Caesarem appellesti; ad Caesarem ibis”
This appeal to Caesar was the right of a Roman citizen, but it evidently took Festus by surprise. He hardly expected this poor missionary, this almost friendless man (from his standpoint), to insist on facing great Caesar himself, and so without realizing for the moment that he had no actual charges to prefer against him, he said, “Unto Caesar shalt thou go.” Later, the incongruity of allowing a man’s case to be appealed to a higher court when he had not been condemned in a lower one came home to him with power, and that leads us to the next step in this drama. — Ironside, page 593.