two year fiasco
Acts 24:1-27 (JDV)
Acts 24:1 Five days later Ananias the high priest came down with some elders and a lawyer named Tertullus. These men presented their case against Paul to the governor.
Acts 24:2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus began to accuse him and said: “We enjoy great peace because of you, and reforms are taking place for the benefit of this nation because of your foresight.
Acts 24:3 We acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with utmost gratitude.
Acts 24:4 But, so that I will not burden you any further, I request that you would be kind enough to give us a brief hearing.
Acts 24:5 You see, we have found this man to be a pestilence, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the Roman world, and a ringleader of the heretical cult of the Nazarenes.
Acts 24:6 He even tried to desecrate the temple, and so we apprehended him. By examining him yourself you will be able to discern the truth about these charges we are bringing against him.”
Acts 24:9 The Jews also joined in the attack, alleging that these things were true.
Acts 24:10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul reacted: “Because I know you have been a judge of this nation for many years, I am glad to offer my defense in what concerns me.
Acts 24:11 You can verify for yourself that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem.
Acts 24:12 They didn’t find me making a speech for anyone or causing a disturbance among the crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or anywhere in the city.
Acts 24:13 Neither can they prove the charges they are now making against me.
Acts 24:14 But I admit this to you: I worship the God of my ancestors according to the Way, which they call a heretical cult, believing everything that is in accordance with the law and written in the prophets.
Acts 24:15 I have a hope in God, which these men themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection, both of the righteous and the unrighteous.
Acts 24:16 I always strive to have a clear conscience toward God and men.
Acts 24:17 After many years, I came to bring charitable gifts and offerings to my people.
Acts 24:18 While I was doing this, some Jews from Asia found me ritually purified in the temple, without a crowd and without any uproar.
Acts 24:19 It is they who ought to be here before you to bring charges, if they have anything against me.
Acts 24:20 Or let these men here state what wrongdoing they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin,
Acts 24:21 other than this one statement I shouted while standing among them, ‘Today I am on trial before you concerning the resurrection from the dead ones.'”
Acts 24:22 Since Felix was well informed about the Way, he adjourned the hearing, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.”
Acts 24:23 He ordered that the centurion keep Paul under guard, though he could have some freedom, and that he should not prevent any of his own from meeting his needs.
Acts 24:24 Several days later, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus.
Acts 24:25 Now as he made a speech about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and reacted, “Leave for now, but when I have an available period I’ll call for you.”
Acts 24:26 At the same time he was also hoping that Paul would offer him money. So he sent for him quite often and conversed with him.
Acts 24:27 After two years had passed, Porcius Festus succeeded Felix, and because Felix wanted to do the Jews a favor, he left Paul tied up.
two year fiasco
Felix had many motives to keep up the ruse of a trial. He had a Jewish wife, who would have been interested in many ways, and he might have wanted to entertain her with news of this trial. He was also hoping for a bribe. And, he kept Paul imprisoned, or “tied up” as a favor to his accusers, who would have been happy to have him out of the way.
But because of this fiasco, Paul had an audience with Governor Felix regularly for two years. He had an opportunity to share about his faith in Christ, to write epistles, to encourage his visitors, to defend his actions as a disciple of Christ, to refute the words of his accusers and to explain his theology, which centered on a hope in a resurrection when Christ returns. Imagine an audience with the governor and his attendants for two years!
Lord, give us insight to see how you are working in our lives to help us share the gospel.