According to the Way So I Worship

Paul is taken from Jerusalem to Caesarea for his own safety because the Jews want to kill him. The governor agrees to hear the charges so the high priest and elders come with their attorney, all making accusations against Paul. None of them are true. Paul defends himself knowing that Felix understands the customs and religion of the Jews. Felix delays, maybe to get a bribe from Paul, then his term as governor is over and he leaves Paul in prison, a favor for the Jews. The new governor also wants to do a favor for the Jews, but Paul is a roman citizen and calls for his right to trial before the judgement seat of Caesar. Jesus had appeared to Paul saying he would testify in Rome so Paul goes with the program.

Having No Charge Deserving Death or Imprisonment

Acts 23:23–35
The tribune sets a guard around Paul and prepares to send Paul away to Caesarea for his own safety. All he knows is that the Jews want to kill Paul. Paul is delivered to the Governor Felix who asks Paul where he is from. When Felix learns Paul is from Cilicia, he agrees to give him a hearing before his accusers.

We Have Found This Man to be a Public Menace

Acts 24:1–9
The high priest is not in any hurry to get to Caesarea, after five days he shows up with with other elders and an attorney all bringing charges against Paul.

They begin with flattery in Acts 24:2-4, thanking Felix for the peace they have enjoyed. This is a plea to the governor for protections of religious their practice. Then they accuse Paul of being a menace in vs. 5 causing riots, a ringleader, in vs. 6 attempting to desecrate the temple. These things are what we today might call hate crimes against the Jews.

According to the Way, So I Worship

Acts 24:10–21
Paul defends himself knowing that Felix understands the customs and religion of the Jews.

Many went to Jerusalem to worship and in Acts 24:11 Paul says it was only twelve days before, of which everyone understands, seven are for purification. Yes, Paul is a follower of the way in vs. 14. Yes, he believes in the resurrection as many of his accusers do in Acts 24:15. And, Paul came to bring a gift to the poor in Jerusalem which could be verified if need be. Paul says, in Acts 24:18 that they found him purified in the temple courts, a place people stayed after their cleansing to avoid becoming defiled.

Then Paul turns the question back in Acts 24:21 to the dispute all of the Jews understood was longstanding between the Pharisees and Sadduccees, the resurrection from the dead.

But Felix Understood the Facts

Acts 24:22–27
Felix knew them all. There was no new truth for him to find. Felix delays, in Acts 24:22 but allowed Paul to have freedom with his own people. With his Jewish wife, he would send for Paul and listen, hoping for money, a bribe, as it was common for people to buy favor from officials. But Felix also got too close to the truth when Paul talked about righteousness, self control and the judgement to come and sent Paul away. This went on for two years until Felix was replaced by the next governor, Porcius Festus. Felix left Paul behind as a prisoner as a favor to the Jews.

Part of the message of the way was that we don’t need a mediator with God any more, we have Jesus Christ our high priest. And, the veil was torn, we can now come boldly to the throne.

I have Done No Wrong

Acts 25:1–12
Two years later, and the Jews are still plotting to kill Paul. As Festus, the new governor makes his rounds to introduce himself, the Jews bring charges against Paul and seek to have Paul brought back to Jerusalem.

Paul claims his right as a roman citizen to be tried before the judgement seat of Caesar, Paul has a right to this trial and Festus say, off you go.

Asking for a Sentence of Condemnation

Acts 25:13–22
King Agrippa visits the new Governor Festus and Festus explains the dilemma left behind by Felix. In Acts 24:16 Festus explains the roman custom that you have the right to meet your accusers face to face. Also, there were no evil deeds done by Paul, just questions relating to the Jewish religion. Something about this Jesus, who Paul says is alive. King Agrippa asks to hear Paul’s defense and Festus agrees.

He Had Done Nothing Deserving Death

Acts 25:23–27
In Acts 25:23 King Agrippa and all of the “prominent men of the city” are present. Festus explains, he has no charge to write as he sends Paul for judgement. He only has the insistence of the Jews that Paul must not live. Festus asks their help. What is the charge?

Study Verses

  • Acts 24:1–9
  • Acts 24:10–21
  • Acts 25:23–27

Today’s Reading

  • Acts 23:23-35
  • Acts 24:1-27
  • Acts 25:1-27