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Saturday, December 2nd, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Acts 24

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NTLuscombe's NT Commentary

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Verse 1

1 Now after five days Annanias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul.

1. Notice that it took them five days to get their lies together and decide how to make what they had done sound innocent.

2. They brought along an orator to be their spokseman.

Verse 2

2 And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: " Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight.

1. Tertullus begins with flowery language - that is clearly a lie. The purpose is to "butter up" Felix.

2. The Jews despised Roman rule over them. They were not enjoying peace because of Felix. In fact, to the the Jews, Felix was the source of their problems.

Verse 3

3 we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.

1. Another lie. They were not grateful for Felix.

Verses 4-5

4 Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us.

5 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.

1. The charges are just name calling. He is called:

1. A Plague

2. Creator of dissension

3. Among ALL Jews throughout the world

4. A ringleader of a sect called the Nazarenes

2. Of course, none of these are true or correct.

1. Paul was not a plague.

2. Paul did not create the dissension. Everywhere Paul went it was the Jews who caused trouble, stirred up the people, and incited riots.

3. ALL Jews is way to broad of a brush. Many Jews accepted Paul.

4. The church is not a sect.

Verse 6

6 He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law. "

1. Notice the language here. He "tried" to profane the temple. Of course there is no evidence that he brought any Gentile into the temple. So all they can do is say that he tried.

2. The next lie - We want to judge him by our law. Actually, they wanted to kill him in violation of their law. They were going to kill him without a trial, without two witnesses, without an opportunity to defend. In fact, they were going to kill him before he was charged with any crime.

Verse 7

7 But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands.

1. The truth is - They were a lynch mob ready to kill him and the commander, rescued Paul from the mob.

2. Paul was not taken with "great violence". He was protected from an angry mob.

3. The violence was the plot to kill Paul which the commander foiled by moving Paul away from Jerusalem.

Verse 8

8 commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.

1. Now the orator says that Felix can examine him and find that the accusations are true.

2. So far there has been lies and name calling. That's all.

Verse 9

9 And the Jews also assented, maintaining that these words were so.

1. All those who came along with their orator, agreed with his statement.

2. They are, of course, a party to all the lies.

Verse 10

10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: " Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge to this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself.

1. Now it is Paul's turn. Felix gives Paul the nod and gives him a chance to speak.

2. This is more of a fair hearing than he has gotten in the past.

3. Paul does not begin with flowery words to "butter up" the governor.

4. Paul simply states that it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to respond for himself.

Verse 11

11 because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship.

1. Paul says that until 12 days ago he was out of the county. Paul was gone on his third missionary journey for about 5 years, perhaps longer.

2. Upon his return to Jerusalem, he went to Jerusalem to worship.

Verse 12

12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city.

1. None of the people making accusations saw him in the temple.

2. There is no witness to Paul disputing with anyone.

3. No one can tell about his inciting a crowd - in a synagogues or in the city streets.

Verse 13

13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me.

1. There is no one who can prove any of the charges.

2. They are empty phrases with no basis in fact.

Verse 14

14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which were written in the Law and the Prophets.

1. There is one point to which Paul will agree and confess.

2. Paul is a part of the Way (which they call a sect).

1. The Way - Jesus is the Way. ( Joh_14:6 ) Many turned this into a term similar to sect. It was used out of derision, but Paul used it as proper term.

2. Paul does deny that the church is a sect.

3. Thayer says that this word means - " dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims ." The Pharisees were a sect of the Jews. Christianity is not a sect.

3. Paul then affirms that he believes all things written in the Law (the five books of Moses) and the Prophets (the other inspired writings of the Old Testament).

Verse 15

15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both the just and the unjust.

1. Paul now affirms his hope. He states that those who accuse him believe the same. This means that most, if not all of those who came, were Pharisees.

2. Paul believes there will be a resurrection of the dead - good and wicked, just and unjust, righteous and unrighteous. ALL will be raised from the dead.

Verse 16

16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

1. Believing that God will raise the dead (and judge them) is a motivating factor that has driven Paul to live without violating his conscience.

2. Paul does not want to offend God. He does not want to offend men. He wants to do the will of God.

Verse 17

17 Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation.

1. After an absence of several years (on his third missionary journey) Paul has some "catching up" to do.

2. He came to bring offerings and alms to the Jewish people.

3. He did not go to Jerusalem to cause problems. He came to help by giving alms to the needy and to offer help to his people.

Verse 18

18 in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult.

1. The problem did not arise until some Jews from Asia arrived. They are the troublemakers.

2. They found Paul purified in the temple. No riot. No mob. No tumult. No dissension. No Gentiles. Just Paul obeying the law.

Verse 19

19 They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me.

1. Now Paul makes a legal point. All the charges stem from these Jews from Asia. Where are they?

2. Paul has a right to face his accusers. If they think he has done something wrong, let them come forward.

Verse 20

20 Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in my while I stood before the council,

1. In the absence of these Jews from Asia, Paul welcomes any who are present to stand and state what wrong they witnessed from Paul.

2. Paul also says that he stood before the council and there were no charges brought.

Verse 21

21 unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, 'Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.' "

1. The only charge that could be made is the one about his faith in the resurrection.

2. The Pharisees agree with him on this point.

3. What is the crime is expressing faith is a point that many Jews also believe?

Verse 22

22 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, " When Lysias comes down I will make a decision on your case. "

1. Felix knows that what the Jews have said are in contradiction to what the letter from the commander stated.

2. Felix is going to wait for the arrival of the commander, Lysias.

3. Only then can he get to the bottom of who is lying - the Jews or his commander.

Verse 23

23 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him.

1. Paul was kept but given some freedom.

2. He could have friends and receive support.

3. Our "freedom" is often restricted or limited.

Verse 24

24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and hear him concerning the faith in Christ.

1. Drusilla now comes into the picture. She is:

1. The wife of Felix the governor.

2. The daughter of Herod Agrippa, who was eaten by worms in Act_12:23 .

3. The sister of King Agrippa that Paul addresses in Act_25:1-27 .

4. Jewish. She married a Gentile but was born of Jewish parents.

Verse 25

25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, " Go away for now; when I have a more convenient time I will call for you. "

1. Now Paul gets down to business. We only have the outline of what Paul was teaching Felix. We know that he talked about:

1. Righteousness - Paul discussed the need to always do what was right in the sight of God. The Word of God tells us what we must do. Do that and we will be right.

2. Self-control - The KJV uses the word "temperance." But this word usually is connected with alcohol. The word used here is a word that requires us to be in control of our body, our mind, our actions, our speech, our attitude. The question we must ask is: WHO IS IN CHARGE OF MY LIFE? WHO IS IN THE DRIVERS SEAT?

3. Judgment to come - Paul assures Felix that there will come a day when all who are raised from the dead will give an account to God or our actions and behavior.

2. Felix feared. He was afraid of what would happen when he faced God in judgment. There are two motivators - Love and Fear. Fear is a proper motivator to get us to behave because of the consequences of doing wrong.

3. Felix' choice - At the conclusion of a sermon is the opportunity to respond. Felix has some choices to make about what Paul has said.

1. He could repent, change his life, live for God, do what is right.

2. He could change his behavior and keep control of his life.

3. He could make adjustments in his life so that he could face judgment with confidence and peace.

4. The decision Felix made was to postpone a decision. Procrastination is a very active tool of Satan. I will obey the gospel - later. I will make changes in my life - later.

Verse 26

26 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him often and conversed with him.

1. Felix also had another motive for his decision to wait.

2. He wanted to get some bribe money. If Paul could give him a little cash under the table, he could walk out.

3. He often talked with Paul. He sent for Paul from time to time to hear more of the message Paul was giving him.

4. Felix was pretending to be interested - just hoping for a bribe. Not because he is interested.

Verse 27

27 But after two years Porctus Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.

1. We now skip forward two years.

1. Paul is still held in prison.

2. Felix is ready to retire and turn his office over to Festus.

3. He seems to have given up on getting any bribe from Paul.

4. He also has lost interest in the gospel message.

2. As a parting gesture he announces that he will keep Paul bound and in prison. This was done:

1. To please the Jews over whom he had ruled (and was despised).

2. To please his wife, Drusilla, who is a Jew.

3. To make sure that once he no longer had the protection of the Roman government, he would be safe to walk the streets of the city.

Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on Acts 24". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/acts-24.html. 2021.
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