Chapter 24: Acts 24: 1-27, trial before Felix
Heavenly Father, Thank You for speaking to us through the inspired, inerrant, and infallible words of scripture. Thank You for conviction, confrontation, correction, teaching, and training in righteousness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-9, 1 And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul. 2 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence, 3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. 4 Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. 5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: 6 Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law. 7 But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,
8 Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him. 9 And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.
Five days later, the Jewish leaders from Jerusalem Camry to Caesarea. They took with them an orator called Tertullus. Tertullus pleaded their case with governor Felix. He started by praising and thanking Felix for maintaining peace and prosperity for the nation of Israel. Tertullus accused Paul of sedition, for being a ring leader and trouble maker of the Nazarene sect, meaning Christians, and for not respecting the temple. They wanted to judge him by their law bit commander Lysias had snatched him away to Caesarea secretly by night. The Jewish leaders concurred with the charges.
VV 10-14, 10 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself: 11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: 13 Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
Felix permitted Paul to speak up to defend himself. Paul had arrived in Jerusalem for only 12 days. He was not disrespectful in the temple, in the synagogue, and in the city. The Jews could not prove their accusations and charges. Paul was a believer of the Way, worshiped God, and believed that all things written in the law and the prophets are true. The law and the prophets mean the bible i.e. the Old Testament. The New Testament had not been written yet.
VV 15-21, 15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. 16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men. 17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings. 18 Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult. 19 Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me. 20 Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council, 21 Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.
Paul hoped in God and the resurrection of the dead, the just to salvation, the unjust to condemnation. Paul’s conscience was clear, he had not offended God and men. After many years, he came to Jerusalem to bring an offering to his nation. When he was purifying himself in the temple, some Jews from Asia Minor falsely accused him of bringing a Gentile into the temple. This charge was baseless. They attacked him for no reason and started a riot in the temple. These Jews did not come to testify against him in Caesarea. Paul was incarcerated just because he had testified to the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, which they could not accept.
VV 22-23, 22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter. 23 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.
Felix had heard about the Christian movement. He adjourned the case refusing to give any verdict. He commanded the centurion to keep Paul under house arrest. Paul was free to move around the prison complex and receive friends and visitors. Felix in Greek means happy.
V 24, And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
Felix’s wife, Drusilla was the daughter of King Herod Agrippa the 1st, the great-granddaughter of King Herod the Great. Felix and Drusilla sent for Paul to share his faith in Christ with them.
VV 25-27, 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. 26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. 27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’ room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
When Paul spoke to Felix on righteousness, self-control, and future judgment, he trembled and dismissed Paul. He wanted Paul to bribe him in exchange for release and called for him more frequently to talk. 2 years later, Porcius Festus took over the position of Felix as governor of Caesarea and took over the custody of Paul’s case.
In verse 14, Paul said that he believed that all the things written in the law and the prophets are true. Paul believed in the Bible. Do you believe in the Bible? Do you read, study, and believe it?
Paul shared the gospel to Felix and Drusilla but they did not believe because they hardened their hearts. Felix heard the gospel for 2 years but still did not believe. Today, if you hear the word do not harden your heart, Hebrews 3:15.
Hebrews 3:15, “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation”.
Heavenly Father, thank You for telling the story of Paul’s trial under Felix and his house arrest in Caesarea. We pray for soft, obedient, teachable, faithful, and believing hearts. We pray that You will soften our hearts to believe in You and surrender our lives totally to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.