Paul’s trial continues, now at the seat of the Roman government of the region, in Caesarea. Felix the governor hears from the high priests’ lawyer and then from Paul. Paul simply lays out the facts and calls for the men from Asia who were first to accuse him. Felix, a judge for years and now a politician, delays in Acts 24:22 But Felix, because he understood the facts concerning the Way more accurately, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the military tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” But it is two years later that the new governor Festus again brings Paul before the judgment seat. And during these two years, in Acts 24:24 “when Felix arrived with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him concerning faith in Christ Jesus.” But Felix also delayed a decision with Paul saying in Acts 24:25 “Go away for the present, and when I have an opportunity, I will summon you.” and missed his opportunity, there was never a convenient time for him to return. Festus takes over as the new governor and brings Paul back to the judgment seat but now before King Agrippa, the chief men of the city and the Roman soldiers and the amazing thing here is that as this began in Jerusalem it was the tribune who was protecting Paul and now, as a Paul stands still accused two years later, it is the governor who is saying in Acts 25:25–26 “But I understood that he had done nothing deserving death himself”. All of these leaders have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, as they called it “the way” in Acts 24:22 and Paul is soon to be on his way to Rome fulfilling the vision he had with Jesus.
All of Whom Brought Charges
I Do Confess This To You
The lawyer speaking for the Jews had opened with flattery to Felix the governor and now Paul has a chance to speak. Paul recognizes that Felix has served the Jewish nation as a judge and welcomes him as the one presiding in
Acts 24:10 And when the governor gestured for him to speak, Paul replied, “Because I know you have been a judge over this nation for many years, I defend myself cheerfully with respect to the things concerning myself.
Paul rehearses the facts, twelve days since his arrival and he went to worship in Acts 24:11, Paul was not arguing or stirring up crowds in Acts 24:12, and there is no proof of any of these accusations in Acts 24:13. What is true, and Paul plainly states in
Acts 24:14-15 But I do confess this to you, that according to the Way (which they call a sect), so I worship the God of our fathers, believing all things that are in accordance with the law and that are written in the prophets, 15 having a hope in God which these men also themselves await: that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.
Felix would now understand this doctrinal difference that would be inflammatory between major sects of the Jews, the Pharisees, and Sadducees. Paul goes on to explain in
Acts 24:18 in which they found me purified in the temple courts, not with a crowd or with a disturbance.
He Listened to Him Concerning the Faith in Christ Jesus
Paul’s life was in the hands of the governor Felix and this was a man that knew not only the history and laws and customs of the Jews, but he also knew about “the way” so delayed any decision by calling for the tribune from Jerusalem to testify in
Acts 24:22 But Felix, because he understood the facts concerning the Way more accurately, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the military tribune comes down, I will decide your case.”
This also made it difficult for the Jewish leaders that had traveled for this trial. In fact, after two years, this had not been resolved in
Acts 24:27 And when two years had passed, Felix received a successor Porcius Festus. And because he wanted to do a favor for the Jews, Felix left Paul behind as a prisoner.
but during these two years, Felix and his wife visited Paul and listened in
Acts 24:24 And after some days, when Felix arrived with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him concerning faith in Christ Jesus.
It is clear that Felix felt some conviction, yet he also delayed any answer to Paul in
Acts 24:25 And while he was discussing about righteousness and self control and the judgment that is to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Go away for the present, and when I have an opportunity, I will summon you.”
I Am Standing Before the Judgment Seat of Cesar
An Opportunity for Defense Against His Accusers
He Had Done Nothing Deserving Death
Paul is brought before Festus, the new governor for Rome and King Agrippa of Israel before a full audience as Festus makes a spectacle of this trial before all in
Acts 25:23 So on the next day, Agrippa and Bernice came with great pageantry and entered into the audience hall, along with military tribunes and the most prominent men of the city. And when Festus gave the order, Paul was brought in.
Festus begins by giving a speech telling all about the appeal of the Jews in
Acts 25:24 And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole population of the Jews appealed to me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he must not live any longer.
Then, Festus levels the field for Paul by saying in front of all in
Acts 25:25–26 But I understood that he had done nothing deserving death himself, and when this man appealed to His Majesty the Emperor, I decided to send him. 26 I do not have anything definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all—and especially before you, King Agrippa—so that after this preliminary hearing has taken place, I may have something to write.
but Festus is not doing this for Paul’s benefit, he is looking for political cover so someone else, King Agrippa, can take some of the heat that will surely come when this case gets to Caesar.
- Acts 24:10–21 I Do Confess This To You
- Acts 24:22–27 He Listened to Him Concerning the Faith in Christ Jesus
- Acts 25:23–27 He Had Done Nothing Deserving Death
- Acts 24:1-27
- Acts 25:1-27