Through the Bible in One Year

Day 237

Acts 24:17-27

Yesterday we saw Paul’s escape from Jerusalem and his arrival in Caesarea.  While in Caesarea an official hearing was held in order to bring about some sort of resolution to this massive problem that had risen in Jerusalem.  We see the chief priest bring in, what he thinks, is a crack prosecutor who levels three charges against Paul.  He charges Paul with: being a troublemaker, promoting sedition and desecrating the temple.  Paul in his response only address the charges concerning promoting sedition and desecrating the temple, while ignoring the charge of being a troublemaker because that charge was a personal attack against him.  In other words, Paul’s words yesterday were his opening arguments.  And what we are going to see today is the meat of Paul’s defense.

“After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 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. 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. Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin— 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.’”—24:17-21

The gifts Paul mentions are a reference to the collection for the believers in Jerusalem (Acts 11:29-30 and Romans 15:25-26).  Paul affirmed he was quietly going about his business.  The Jews from the province of Asia were the ones who created the uproar.  Legally these Jews should have been present to make their charges.  Their absence made any of the charges a moot point.  The ones who were present could only testify about the meeting before the council.  In that meeting the problem was Paul’s shout that he was being persecuted for a belief in the resurrection of the dead.  Thus, the issue was actually theological, a matter that Felix had no jurisdiction over.

Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 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.—24:22-23

Paul was kept under guard but was allowed some freedoms.  Josephus speaks of a kind of custody that included daily baths, meals and visits from friends and servants who could bring food and other items to comfort the detainee.  Paul’s custody may not have been that light and flexible, but it was certainly not the harsh incarceration of a dangerous criminal.

Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul talked about 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.” At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

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.—24:24-27

Drusilla, the daughter of Herod Agrippa I, was around 19 years old at this time.  Felix convinced her to divorce her husband (a local ruler) and marry him.  The couple heard from Paul a testimony about Christ that talked of righteousness, self-control and judgment to come.  Because he lacked righteousness and clearly short on self-control, the judgment to come terrified Felix (and likely Drusilla as well).  In fear, Felix sent Paul to prison.  He also desired a bride from Paul, which was unfortunately how the legal system worked back then, so kept him under guard and continued to talk with him.  For Paul, this situation provided an opportunity to share the Gospel with the Roman elite in the area.  Paul was left in prison as political favor to the Jewish leadership (likely a compromise since they wanted Paul dead).  And that is where we will pick up tomorrow as we see Paul brought before the new governor, a man by the name of Porcius Festus.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

Job 20-22, 2 Corinthians 1:1-11, Psalm 40:11-17 and Proverbs 22:2-4

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Leave a Reply