BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
PAUL APPEARS BEFORE FELIX
Five days after Paul was delivered to Caesarea by order of Lysias, the commander of the Roman garrison, to stand trial before the governor Felix, Ananias, the high priest, and a few of the Jewish leaders, arrived in town with their lawyer, Tertullus, to press charges against Paul.
When Paul was called before Felix, Tertullus laid down the charges against him before the court in a dramatic, eloquent, and flattering style that would make even the best of our modern-day Prosecutors blush. In fact, it is even sickening the way this courtier kisses up to Felix who was known to be a man who accepted bribes for his favor. In the Old Testament times he would have been called “Dayyaneh Gezeloth”, the Hebrew term for “Robber Judges”.
The anti-CHRIST Jews’ case against Paul (Acts 24:1-9) basically involved these three false charges;
· They presented Paul as a troublemaker, and a disturber of the peace. Such a person would have been deemed as highly likely to involve himself, and others, into “civil disturbances”, something that was absolutely forbidden by the Roman Government.
· They presented Paul as a leader in the “MESSIANIC Movement” and a member of the much-hated “Sect of the Nazarenes” (as they were referred to by the world), who were followers of the doctrine of JESUS CHRIST, and, who referred to themselves as “Adherents of the Way”, or, in short, “The Way”. They were considered to be, not only a threat to the Jews, but also, in many ways, a threat to the Roman Empire itself.
· They falsely presented Paul as one had defiled the temple by allowing a Gentile (Trophimus) to enter into areas that were restricted to Gentiles.
After the Jews sounded out in agreement with Tertullus’ charges against Paul (v.9), in verses 10-21, it becomes Paul’s turn to speak and Governor Felix motions for him to stand up and speak to address the charges being leveled against him. Here Paul offers up several points toward his own defense, and after giving the Governor his props, he begins his refutation.
The first thing Paul points out is that he hadn’t even been in Jerusalem long enough to stir up any kind of disorderly acts among the people, and even at this point, he’d only been in the area of Jerusalem for about 12 days. And no one could honestly say that they had seen him instigate a riot, nor a disturbance of any kind.
Secondly, Paul points out that he is a devout follower of CHRIST JESUS, the SON of the living GOD of his ancestors, and that he firmly believes in the written law of GOD. He also went on to say that he has his hope in the Almighty GOD just as his accusers claim they do, and he believes that GOD will eventually raise both the righteous and the unrighteous from the dead.
Paul goes on to explain to Felix that, after being away for several years on his third missionary journey trying to raise money to help relieve the famine in Jerusalem, he returned to deliver the proceeds, and to celebrate the Pentecost and worship and teach in the temple. In fact, Paul says, he was just completing a purification ritual when this whole debacle started. And there was no crowd around him at the time.
After completing the purification ritual, as had been recommended by the Church leaders, Paul says that a group of anti-CHRIST Jews from the province of Asia, who, by the way, should be there to bring these charges (not these men), came and stirred up trouble for me, and in fact, tried to kill me. These men (the Sadducees) standing here bringing charges against me now, don’t have anything against me, except that I believe in salvation through CHRIST JESUS only, and, in the resurrection of the dead, while they don’t.
Felix was quite familiar with the religious group called “The Way”, because his wife, Drusilla, was the daughter of Herod Agrippa I, and herself, was a Jewess trained in the Jewish tradition of having high regard for the things of GOD. She had been previously married to a man named Azizus, who was the king of Emesa. Felix seduced her from him and persuaded her to marry him. And so Paul had probably tweaked his feelings of guilt by drudging up his memories of the high morals of GOD, that he had so obviously violated, with his adulterous marriage to Drusilla, another man’s wife.
Feeling quite disturbed at this point, Felix decided to adjourn the proceedings, and opted instead to wait on the arrival of Lysias, the commander of the garrison that brought Paul to Caesarea. Paul, however, was ordered to be kept under house arrest until then. Felix did grant him some freedoms, however, and he also allowed Paul to have visits from friends who could take care of his personal needs.
A few days later Felix and his wife, Drusilla, sent for Paul, and they sat down and listened to him talk to them about faith in JESUS CHRIST and the things of GOD. As Paul spoke to them about righteousness and self-control, and also about the judgment from GOD that would inevitably come, Felix seemed terrified and very upset, and in fact, requested that Paul leave and come again at another time.
However, unfortunately we see in verse 26, the underlying reason why Felix really wanted to see Paul in the first place. I said earlier that Felix was a “Robber Judge” who accepted payment to rule in a person’s favor. There Scripture tells us here that Felix was seeking an opportunity to extract a bribe from Paul. In fact verse 26 also tells us that after this first occasion, Felix often talked to Paul and he continually sought opportunities to line his pockets.
Paul remained incarcerated for two more years before Felix was finally got caught up in some other wrongdoings, probably involving the extraction of bribes from some imperiled defendants, who had the misfortune to stand before him in front of the judgment seat. As a result he was recalled from his governmental post by Caesar, and Jewish history now tells us that his offense was so dire that he faced a possible death sentence if he had been convicted. In fact, he was actually saved from execution by his brother Pallas, and he was immediately replaced by Festus, and the Jewish leaders hurried to him to try and win his favor, hoping they could persuade him to help them in their ongoing plot to execute, or assassinate Paul.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website