The Holy Spirit Gives Us A Clear Conscience and Confirms Christian Character
In the previous chapter, Felix agreed to hear Paul’s case after discovering he was from Cicilia. The text unfolds five days later with the apostle before the presence of Felix. The context of chapter 24 could be characterized by the three settings of the text: The Absurd Accusations, The Divine Defense and the Private Preaching
The Absurd Accusations Against Paul
(Verses 1-9) – Ananias, the Chief Priest and the elders hired an attorney named Tertullus to present their accusations against Paul. Tertullus began his presentation flattering Felix with mistruths about his character. He bestowed honorable accolades of integrity upon Felix that were not true. Felix was a corrupt leader. Tertullus then hurls absurd denunciation of sedition upon Paul that was not true. In verse 9 the Jews agreed with his mistruths. He attacked Paul from four perspectives:
- The Person of Paul
- The Purpose of Paul
- The Position of Faith
- The Profaning of the Temple
The Divine Defense From Paul
(Verses 10-21) – Paul responded to the accusations made by Tertullus. The Jews did not know that Claudius Lysias letter substantiated all that he said. Paul maintained respect. He recognized Felix’s’ authority and he maintained conduct. He answered the charges levied against him by declaring his innocence. Finally, he maintained his conscience: Paul defended his actions by pointing out his motivation. He told them that his motivation was to bring alms to the Jewish believers who needed assistance. The Asian Jews would testify of his presence in the temple being in order but they did not inquire the Asians Jews presence at the hearing. The Jews were upset over doctrinal issues and Paul affirming the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
The Private Preaching By Paul
(Verses 22-27) – The deferment of the case was the easy way out for Felix. He had the letter that Lysias sent that condemned the Jewish leaders. He wanted to keep peace with the Jews but he also loved money and wanted a bribe from Paul for his release. He detained Paul under the pretense that he had to await Lysias’ testimony. The more important issue in this section is the meeting between Felix, his wife Drusilla and Paul. In this meeting Paul preached Jesus Christ to the couple. At this point, Paul was no longer on trial but Felix was the one on trial before Paul. Paul could refute the charges made against him but Felix could not refute the sin charges Paul made against him. Paul did not tremble before Felix but Felix trembled before Paul. Paul remained bound for two years.
The lesson is a clinical case study of one living their life with a good conscience before God. If the Christian has a clear conscience before God he or she will be fruitful in their worship, work, witness and the Word of God. Paul always sought to keep his conscience clear. (Verses 23:1, 24:16)
- Who did Ananias appear with after five days?
- What was this mans charges against Paul?
- How did the Jews respond to the charges?
- What was Paul’s response?
- What did Paul say he came to bring to the nations?
- Who did Paul say started all of the trouble?
- How did Felix respond to Paul’s defense?
- What happened when Felix and his wife Drusilla sent for Paul?
- What was Felix’s response?
- What was Felix hoping Paul would do for him?
- Who replaced Felix?
- How does this chapter end for Paul?
- How Does Satan Make Evil Appear Good and Good Appear Evil?
- How Can You Serve God When Others Don’t Appreciate You?
- Is There A Neutral Ground Where Right and Wrong Is Concerned?
- Why Should You Not Put Off Tomorrow What Can Be Done Today?
The Holy Spirit Provides Patience For The Process
In the preceding chapter Felix sought to receive money for Paul’s release from prison. As a consequence, Paul is left to sit in prison for two years. In chapter 25 Festus replaced Felix as Governor at the protest of Jewish leadership. Festus was a novice, inexperienced in his new position and the Jews knew this. Felix was an old pro, a crooked politician if you please. He knew the Jews, he was informed about Christianity and he had political savvy but Festus knew nothing of Jewish affairs. He is an inexperienced governor. In these concluding chapters, God is using the obstinacy and unbelief of the Jews to accomplish His plans for Paul’s ministry. The Holy Spirit, once again sets the stage for the Gospel through opposition to be presented through the preaching of Paul. What seemed as a series of slip-ups actually paved the way for Paul to complete his assignment and preach the Gospel in Rome.
Vs. 1-12: The new Governor, Felix is replaced by Festus and the Jewish high priest is pursuing him. For two years there has been no action taken against Paul but when Festus took office the Jews seek to reopen Paul’s case. Festus wants to make a good impression on the Jews but he knows very little about Jewish matters. The Jews attempt to trick Festus into sending Paul to Jerusalem so they could assassinate him but Festus answered that Paul should remain in Caesarea. He met with them some time after and had Paul brought before them. When Paul came forth the Jews levied unproven charges against him. In verse 8, Paul defended all the charges before him. However, Festus wanted to please the Jews and asked Paul if he would go to Jerusalem whereas Paul declined and chided Festus. Paul sensed a trap in verse 9 and does not go along with the Jerusalem piece because he knew the trip would have been dangerous, he also remembered the 40 Jews from 2 years prior to this that had made a vow to kill him. There was no chance Paul would get a fair trial in Jerusalem. Paul saw justice taking a back seat to politics and convenience. In verses 10 through 12 Paul made his appeal to Rome.
Vs. 13-27: Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to salute Festus. Festus explained Paul’s case to Agrippa. Festus was the procurator and Rome’s area representative but Agrippa was well versed in Jewish law and matters. Festus needed help and Agrippa agreed to hear the case because he wanted to know more about Christianity. The next day Agrippa and Bernice enter the courtroom with pomp and a host of dignitaries with them. Festus confessed that Paul was innocent. However, Festus had a serious problem: If he let Paul go there was sure to be a riot by the Jews. If he handed Paul over, he would have been handing a Roman citizen over to be lynched. The case is out of his hands and he has no other choice but to hand it to Caesars court. He wanted Agrippa to examine Paul so he could know what to write in his report.
- What happened when Festus came to the province?
- Why were the Jewish leaders trying to get Festus to send Paul to Jerusalem?
- What was Festus’ response?
- What happened after Festus being in the province for 10 days?
- What did the Jews do against Paul when he was brought to Festus?
- What did Festus do to please the Jews?
- How did Paul respond?
- To whom did Festus send Paul?
- Who came to salute Festus?
- What did Festus say to exonerate himself to Agrippa and Berniece?
- Who did Paul want to go before?
- How did Agrippa respond?
- The next day how did Agrippa and Berniece enter the courtroom?
- What did Festus request of Agrippa?
Group Application Discussion
How do we develop patience?