Acts 24

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“A few days later Felix came back with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus” (Acts 24:24 NLT).

July 6, 2019

PAUL’S FAITHFUL WITNESS Paul was held prisoner by the Roman procurator of Judea, Marcus Antonius Felix for two years. Felix understood the religious culture of Judea better than most Romans, having married the daughter of Herod Agrippa I, Drusilla. Both of them divorced their first spouses in order to be together.   Paul’s captivity during… Read more »

“After two years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left Paul in prison” (Acts 24:27 NLT).

July 6, 2018

PAUL’S TWO YEARS IN CAESAREA MARITIMA
Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and delivered to Marcus Antonius Felix, the Roman Governor of Judea, at Caesarea Maritima (“By the Sea”). He was imprisoned there for two years, but was allowed the freedom to be visited by friends and receive help from them. Although it was the unscrupulous Felix who kept Paul there, hoping for a bribe and seeking favor with the Jewish leaders, surely it was God’s will for Paul to stay there for a while. For Paul had the freedom to regularly preach to Felix and his wife, Drusilla, the daughter of Herod Agrippa I. Paul also had the freedom to reach out to his Christian brothers and sisters in Israel, while being protected by mighty Rome from his Jewish enemies.

Caesarea Marítima was the major seaport for the Judean Province. It was a beautiful place. Herod’s summer palace was there. And so was the home of the Roman Governor. Paul was able to expand his ministry influence, while living in a Roman prison at this important crossroads. Soon Porcius Festus, the new governor, would hear Paul’s testimony and ultimately send him on to Rome to appeal to Caesar.

“For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5 NKJV).

July 6, 2017

Some of the same group of Jewish leaders who had accused Jesus before Pontius Pilate, now traveled to Caesarea to bring accusation against the apostle Paul before the Roman governor, Felix. This time, they hired a Roman orator and attorney named Tertullus to represent their case. He began his accusation by complimenting “noble” Felix and the Romans for the Pax Romana that they had brought to Judea. And in contrast, he named Paul, with ad hominem disdain, a “plague,” a pestilence, among the Jews throughout the Roman world. Yet, his climatic charge was that Paul was a “ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes,” using the same name that they had given Jesus, namely, Jesus of Nazareth.

The Greek word translated “sect” is the origin of our word for “heresy.” So, the Jews called the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, a heretical sect called “Nazarenes.” Muslims picked up this name and have called Christians by this same name since their invasion of Christian lands in the 7th century. Recently, the Christians in Mosul, Iraq, were labeled with the Arabic letter “nun” (“N” in our alphabet) by members of ISIS to show that they were “Nazarenes,” a name meant to shame them, but instead worn as a mark of faith by those so labeled.

The apostle Paul was essentially marked with the letter “N” for Nazarene. Yet he too, wore it not with shame, but with humble faith in the One who was first called the Nazarene.

“having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. ” (Acts 24:15 ESV)

July 6, 2016

Paul’s defense before the Roman governor Felix was simple, yet profound. While it was aimed at showing that he affirmed the same Scriptures and God that his accusers did, it also had the effect of elevating even the governor’s awareness that there was a court higher than Rome’s. Paul’s hope was in God. Not in Rome, nor Jerusalem. But in God alone. The only judge in whom he hoped to find favor was the Lord and his hope was secured in Christ as his advocate.

“I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:15 NKJV)

July 6, 2015

Paul’s defense before the Roman governor Felix was simple, yet profound. While it was aimed at showing that he affirmed the same Scriptures and God that his accusers did, it also had the effect of elevating even the governor’s awareness that there was a court higher than Rome’s. Paul’s hope was in God. Not in Rome, nor Jerusalem. But in God alone. The only judge in whom he hoped to find favor was the Lord and his hope was secured in Christ as his advocate.

“…Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus” (Acts 24:24b NLT)

July 6, 2014

For the remaining two years of his term, the Roman governor Felix kept Paul in custody at Caesarea. He often sent for Paul, so that he and his Jewish wife, Drusilla, could hear him talk about faith in Christ. What a strange time this must’ve been for Paul. The Scripture ascribes mixed motives to Felix. On the one hand, it mentions that Felix wanted a bribe and that he wanted to gain favor from the Jews. On the other hand, he gave Paul freedom and allowed his friends to visit. Felix also became very frightened when Paul talked to him. Yet Paul didn’t waver. When others would’ve become disheartened by being caught up in such political intrigue, Paul kept sharing his testimony and preaching the gospel. In this way, the elite ruling class of Caesarea heard his witness.