About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 24
The Trial Before Felix (ch. 24:1 - 27)
days after Paul arrived in Caesarea Ananias the high priest and certain elders
and a lawyer named Tertullus came to present their case.
Five days is not a long time for Paul to wait.
It would have taken at least two days for these men to travel the seventy
must remember that Paul is not a legal prisoner at this moment.
He has not even been charged as yet.
This is the reason for the meeting at hand.
is not a Jewish name. Maybe the Jews
needed a non-Jew to support their cause. He
opens his remarks by saying flattering things about Governor Felix.
Depending on how Felix thinks of these words would determine his
response. Was this indeed flattery or respect for Felix on the behalf of
Tertullus? It could well have been
pure flattery, but we know that all means would have been used to gain a
positive audience with the governor. I
interpret this as flattery and not respect.
lawyer says, "We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your
foresight has brought about reforms in this nation".
I doubt if Tertullus really believed what he was saying.
Any Jew or representative of the Jews would not have enjoyed the
domination of any Roman governor. I
think this is pure flattery to get a positive response from Felix.
goes on to say that "we acknowledge this with profound gratitude".
This could either get his case on the right foot with Felix or cause
problems in the very beginning, depending on how Felix interprets these words, but
what else could this lawyer say. He
had to acknowledge the governor in the best way possible without sounding overly
doubt if Luke recorded all that Tertullus said.
I am sure there were more words spoken than what we read.
The main charge against Paul was that "he was a troublemaker,
stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world, as is seen in verse 5.
Of course, Paul was the center of many riots but he wasn't the initiator
of them. The riot that got Paul in
trouble this time was actually started by the Jews, not Paul, and, like many
riots, most of the rioters did not even know why they were rioting.
lawyer called Paul "a leader of the Nazarene sect and he even tried to
desecrate the temple". Of
course, the reference to the Nazarene sect is to Jesus of Nazareth. The
desecrating of the temple would be in reference to the assumption that Paul
brought a Gentile into the temple during the ceremonial vow discharging of the
four men we read about earlier. This
was never proved. It was simply an
assumption on the part of the Jews.
verse 8 Tertullus simply tells Felix that they had brought Paul to him so he
could hear the truth for himself.
9 tells us that the rest of the Jews joined in these assertions that were made
by Tertullus. The rest of the Jews are in reference to Ananias and the elders
that came from
10 begins Paulís defense once Felix gave him permission by motioning to him. Paul
begins his address by acknowledging that Felix has been a "judge over this
nation for many years". He uses
no flattery as did Tertullus. He
only recognizes Felixís legal position and adds that he is glad to be able to
defend himself before the governor. Paul is both respectful and to the point.
sure Paul is very glad to have the chance to defend himself before a Roman
governor because by doing so, he would preach the gospel to Felix.
This must have really thrilled Paul and confirmed for him that this was
God's will as seen in the prophecy Ananias spoke to him at his conversion.
first part of Paulís defense as seen in verses 11 and 12 refers
need to be clear about something here. Paul
at this point was defending himself before the Roman governor.
There is nothing unbiblical about defending yourself when you are in the
right. Christians aren't called to
be wimps. We're called to be strong,
courageous, yet quiet in spirit. As
our western world continues to forsake the Biblical consensus it was built on,
it becomes more anti-Christ in nature, and therefore causes conflict between
society and Christians. We must
learn from Paul's experience. Let's
not be afraid to defend ourselves, whether on an individual level or a societal
being a ring leader of the Nazarene sect Paul says in verse 14, "I admit
that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the way, which they call
a sect". You see here that Paul
claims that his God is indeed the God of the Jews.
By adding the point about being a follower of the way Paul is only giving
further clarity to the God he worships. In
fact the God that Paul preaches is the God of the Old Testament, but also the
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
continues by saying in verse 14 that he is in full agreement with the law and
the prophets and that he tries to live his life with a clean conscience before
God. Of course, Paul would redefine
the meaning of the Law of Moses since the cross, something that he does not
explain here. He and his accusers
are in agreement concerning the importance of the Law of Moses as he is
suggesting to Felix. It is the
application of the Law where he and the Jews differ.
At this point, that would most likely be way over Felix's head.
verse 15 Paul also mentions the hope he has in the resurrection of both the
righteous and the wicked, which he says is in agreement with those who accuse
him, yet Paul knows that not all his accusers had this same hope as he suggests.
There is a good chance that only those agreeing with the Sadducees on
this point came with Ananias. Remember,
the Sadducees did not believe in life after death, something the Pharisees did
don't know if the Pharisees, who do believe in the resurrection, came with
Ananias or not. You will remember
that they were actually in agreement with
seemed to be saying that this is all about a religious matter.
It wasn't a legal matter, so there was no reason for him to be retained
noted back in Acts 21:17 that the Jews in
the offerings that are mentioned in verse 17, some interpret these offerings as
being the gift of money that he presented to the elders in Jerusalem, but that
is not the case. Verse 18
clears this up when Paul says that he "was ceremonially clean when they
found him in the temple". He had to be ceremonially clean in order for him to
participate in the closing down of the vows with the four men.
might ask why Paul was making offerings in the temple when he didn't see the
need to do so any longer. It might
well be that to the Jews he became like the Jews and to the Gentiles he became
like the Gentiles. We should not
think this to be hypocritical. Paul
simply wanted nothing to come in the way from having the gospel accepted by all.
Paul believed that neither being circumcised nor not circumcised was no
big deal. He just didn't believe it
was a matter of getting saved or staying saved.
Therefore, he could perform other duties in the Law of Moses in the same
light. He could perform these
offerings or he could not perform them. It
was no big deal for him.
says that he was ceremonially clean when these Jews first found him in the
temple. He also says that he was not
with a crowd of people. We need to
ask what Paul means by being "ceremonially clean".
He does not explain the details to Felix concerning the four men and the
vows they took that Paul was paying for. In
order for Paul to participate in the closing of these four menís vows in the
temple, he would have to go through a ceremonial cleansing process.
So, when the Jews found him in the temple, that is what he was doing.
He was doing nothing wrong. In
actuality he was doing things right according to the Law of Moses.
verse 19 Paul mentions to Felix that certain Asian Jews who had caused trouble
for him in Asia, who were also in Jerusalem, should be there charging him, not
the Sanhedrin, since the Sanhedrin werenít at the temple at the time in
dispute. His accusers should clearly
state what crime he committed, not those in the Sanhedrin.
We clearly see here that Paul is defending himself.
Again, I say that there is nothing wrong with a Christian defending
himself, whether in a court of law or anywhere else.
Concerning these Asian Jews, they might well have
followed Paul to
only crime that Paul tells Felix that he could have possibly committed, as seen
in verse 21, was "concerning the resurrection of the dead", which in
fact he would say was no crime. Paul
again is stressing the importance of the resurrection, something that irritates
immensely his Jewish accusers. As
far as Paul was concerned, that was the real reason why he was standing before
Felix that day.
verse 22 Felix adjourned the gathering until Lysias; the captain of the guard
could come and participate. Until
then Paul was under guard, yet had a measure of freedom.
His friends could visit him. They
really could not imprison Paul since they had not yet charged him with anything.
You might call this a house arrest. Remember,
Lysias, the captain of the guards was the one who originally arrested Paul.
He needed to be at this trial.
verse 24 we learn a little more about Felix the governor.
He had a wife who was a Jew. This
is why he was so acquainted with the Jewish religion and the new Christian
faith. Drusilla was Felix's third
wife and she was probably around twenty years old.
She was first married at the age of sixteen.
She was the daughter of Herod Agrippa the first and the sister of Herod
the second. The family of Herods
were part Jew and thus the reason for Drusilla's understanding of religious
verse 25, out of curiosity, Felix called upon Paul to talk to him further about
his faith. This seemed to be off the
record. Luke was very specific in
what Paul talked about. Paul spoke
about his faith in Christ Jesus. Paul
would have made it very clear that his faith was in the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ. He also spoke to
Felix about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come.
Concerning righteousness I can only guess what Paul would have said.
He might well have spoken directly to Felix about his unrighteous ways.
He then spoke about God's judgment. Again,
the exact things Paul said is unknown, but I can guess this judgment included
both personal and national judgment. At
this point the Holy Spirit must have been speaking through Paul to convict the
heart of Felix. He was now afraid
and asked Paul to leave.
sure Paul would have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and I'm sure Paul
would have seen the conviction that was taking place in Felix.
He was probably ecstatic since he was able to preach the gospel to a
governor of the
see that Luke records another reason why Felix would often call for Paul.
In verse 26 we see that Felix was hoping that Paul would bribe Felix.
That is to say, Felix was hoping that Paul would slip him a sum of money
that would encourage him to free Paul. That
was not uncommon back then, but of course, Paul did not do that.
It appears that Felix felt the convicting power of the Spirit, yet
Felix was hoping for some financial gain from Paul some suggest that Paul was
fairly well off at this point, but that is speculation.
Felix might have just thought that Paul had the money to pay for his
release. We don't actually know for
sure if he had any money or how much money he had. We
do know that since Paul will appeal to
my estimation Paul is one of the most important men in Christian history and
here we see him spending two years in house arrest in
appears that Lysias, the captain of the guards, may have never come to