Acts 24

acts-24.jpgGreetings!  Paul is on trial in Caesarea (named for Caeser), the Roman center of government in Israel. 

The Trial Before Felix

24     Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”

9 The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.

10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin— 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’”

22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.

24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

I forgot that Paul was in prison in Caesarea that long (two years!).  That’s one thing I enjoy about this blog and going through the Bible chapter by chapter.  I noticed all sorts of things in passages I have read many times. 

Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth and they will lash out or react poorly.  Festus was afraid of what he heard.  Paul preached the truth simply and clearly.  That is what are asked to do.  How people receive it is up to God.

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2 Responses

  1. v. 2 – 3…It was expected to have such a eulogy when introducing a speech before a judge. Even though Felix had done some good things, his overall record was not good, and was recalled by Rome for misrule. His reforms and improvements are hard to identify historically.

    v. 5 – To excite dissension in the empire was treason against Caesar. To be a leader of a religious sect without Roman approval was contrary to law. The Nazarine sect at the time was Christianity, or The Way.

    Did you notice there was no verse 7? Some manuscripts say “…….him and wanted to judge him according to our law. v.7 But the commander, Lysias, came and with the use of much force snatched him from our hands v.8 and ordered his accusers to come before you. By….”

    Interesting side notes…..
    Felix was recalled to Rome in A.D. 59/60 to answer for disturbances and irregularities in his rule, such as his handling of riots between Jewish and Syrian inhabitants. He did not want to incite more anger among the Jews, whom he would be facing in Roman court shortly. To release Paul from prison would do just that.

    Festus is not mentioned in existing historical records before his arrival in Palestine. He died in office after two years, but his record for that time shows wisdom and honesty superior to both his predecessor, Felix, and his sucessor, Albinus.

  2. Thanks, Rebecca!

    I never realized there was no verse 7! Now I can tell people I’ve memorized Acts 24:7 🙂

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