Acts 24:1-21 (web)

Paul's Trial by Felix

24:1 After five days, the high priest, Ananias, 
came down with certain elders and an orator, one Tertullus. 
They informed the governor against Paul. 
24:2 When he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying,

Accusation

"Seeing that by you we enjoy much peace,
and that excellent measures are coming to this nation, 
24:3 we accept it in all ways and in all places, 
most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness. 
24:4 But, that I don't delay you,
I entreat you to bear with us and hear a few words. 
24:5 For we have found this man to be a plague, 
an instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the world, 
and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 
24:6 He even tried to profane the temple, and we arrested him.
{TR adds "We wanted to judge him according to our law,"} 
24:7 {TR adds "but the commanding officer, Lysias, 
came by and with great violence took him out of our hands,"} 
24:8 {TR adds "commanding his accusers to come to you."} By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him." 
24:9 The Jews also joined in the attack, affirming that these things were so. 
24:10 When the governor had beckoned to him to speak, Paul answered, 

Defense

"Because I know that you have been a judge of this nation for many years,
I cheerfully make my defense, 

24:11 seeing that you can recognize that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem. 
24:12 In the temple they didn't find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the synagogues, or in the city. 
24:13 Nor can they prove to you the things whereof they now accuse me. 
24:14 But this I confess to you, that after the Way, which they call a sect, so I serve the God of our fathers, believing all things which are according to the law, and which are written in the prophets; 
24:15 having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. 
24:16 Herein I also practice always having a conscience void of offense toward God and men. 

24:17 Now after some years, I came to bring gifts for the needy to my nation, and offerings; 
24:18 amid which certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple,
not with a mob, nor with turmoil. 
24:19 They ought to have been here before you, and to make accusation,
if they had anything against me. 
24:20 Or else let these men themselves say what injustice they found in me when I stood before the council, 
24:21 unless it is for this one thing that I cried standing among them,
'Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged before you today!'" 

Comments

Accusation

  • vs 2-4 Man-Pleasing Flattery - Although Paul also briefly acknowledges Felix's credentials to judge his case yet Tertullus goes beyond such and attempts to win favor though flattery. So Tertullus's first insult is to Felix by implying he can influence his decision by playing on his pride. He was furthermore being dublicitous in that he and the rest of the Jews knew of the plan to murder Paul demonstrated that they did not trust the Romans system of justice. Far from being thankful of Roman occupation Israel was well known as a rebellious territory.
  • vs 5 Accusation: Paul is seditious - The argument he makes is kind of silly. Paul tells the truth and those who hate the truth get angry. Is that Paul's fault? Yet this same kind of accusation is not uncommonly made between Christians. If one tells the truth and the other gets angry because they can't handle the truth, is the one who tells the truth guilty of being divisive? Truth is often devalued in a pluralistic society.
  • vs 6 Accusation: Paul defiled the temple - This was a straight out lie, but may have been sincerely believed by those who already had an innate hatred for Paul. Rumor easily gets interpreted as fact for those filled with prejudice, hatred, and pride.
  • vs 7 Insults the Roman commander Lysias - here he goes beyond accusing Paul and now accuses the Roman commander of misbehavior and violence, whereas the situation was much the opposite. It was the Jews who were disorderly and violent. This is typical of the religious elite mindset of the Jews. It leads to hypocrisy as Paul also points out in Romans chapter 2. While they are quick in their bloodthirsty hadtred to accuse others, they refuse to recognize that they are the guilty party.
  • vs 9 Bearing false witness against your neighbor is a violation of the 9th commandment. So in assenting to these accusations the Jews show themselves in opposition to the Law of Moses which they claim to so zealously uphold.

Defense

  • vs 10 In deference Paul acknowledges Felix's credentials as a judge and legitimate authority in this case showing himself submissive to legitimate authority as he had behaved throughout the empire.
  • vs 11-12 While it is true that in entering many cities Paul would first go the synagogue to debate with the Jews, that was not his mission in Jerusalem. He did not go there to argue with the Jewish unbelievers. He went to the temple to show that he was still a practicing Jew by his behavior. 
  • vs 13 The only evidence they had against him was the false testimony of the Jews. 
  • vs 14-15 He does acknowledge himself a Christian, but says that his beliefs are consistent with traditional Judaism, the resurrection from the dead being an essential element to the hope he professed, as was spoken of by the prophets.
  • vs 16 Here is an essential key to living the Christian life. FOLLOW YOUR CONSCIENCE. Yes it it true that many have a conscience overly corrupted by sin. But as one follows Christ, one's conscience is gradually healed. For the Christian, the Bible contains primarily general principles. The Spirit gives more specific guidance in its interaction with the intuition, the heart, the mind and the conscience. Don't do things which would make you feel guilty. This closes a number of doors in life and thus makes one's path clearer and more direct. And neither violate the conscience of another, which is also Paul's instruction in dealing with gray areas. Not violating your conscience is an attempt to have always a conscience void of offence toward God. Not violating somebody else's conscience is an attempt to have always a conscience void of offence toward man. 
  • vs 17-18 Paul goes on to reveal that rather than come to Jerusalem to divide, he came with a generous gift to provide for the practical needs of the nation. Yes it is true he gave it to the Jewish Christians, but they are afterall Jews and citizens of Jerusalem. Then he reveals that it was foreigners (Jews from other nations) who falsely accused him. In this way Paul tried to show himself as a good citizen and his accusers as outsiders.



The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015