United Church of God

Acts of the Apostles: 42 - Acts 23:11-24:24

You are here

Acts of the Apostles

42 - Acts 23:11-24:24

MP4 Video - 1080p (1.52 GB)
MP4 Video - 720p (936.78 MB)
MP3 Audio (28.68 MB)


Acts of the Apostles: 42 - Acts 23:11-24:24

MP4 Video - 1080p (1.52 GB)
MP4 Video - 720p (936.78 MB)
MP3 Audio (28.68 MB)

In this class we will discuss Act 23:11-35 thru Acts 24:1-24 and examine the following: The Lord appears to Paul in a vision, assuring him that he will testify in Rome. A group of Jews plots to kill Paul, but their plan is revealed to the Roman commander. The commander escorts Paul to Caesarea for his safety. Paul is brought before the governor, Felix, as the Jewish leaders accuse him of stirring up riots. Paul defends himself, proclaiming his innocence and preaching about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come. Felix postpones the decision and keeps Paul in custody, occasionally meeting with him to hear more about the faith.


[Darris McNeely] We have come to a point with the apostle Paul where he's in Jerusalem. He has come back after extensive travels throughout Asia. He has brought with him an offering to deliver to the Church in Jerusalem from the Churches in Corinth and over here in Achaea. He's coming all along, and last time we talked about his meeting with the elders at Miletus and coming back down into the land of Palestine. And all along the way, people are warning him of the dangers that lay ahead for him as he was to go to Jerusalem. And there were plots, and this was rumored quite extensively, it seems, because he's had that as far back as Corinth, and even as he now gets closer and closer to Jerusalem.

And so, he goes into the temple to make an offering and spend time there. And a riot then is created by those who recognize him. And they make this charge against Paul that he has brought a gentile into the court. And I'm going to flip this over here. I didn't have time to bring up a picture of this, but I'll tell you a little bit of something I learned on the trip, and we saw, and this pertains to what we're talking about at least last time. Paul has come up into the temple, and he has... The charge with the riot is created because they say that he's brought a gentile past a certain point here in the temple, which is marked on this particular map between the Court of the gentiles and the Court of Israel.

And there was a low wall right there. On this map, there's just a little blue square, but there was a wall that separated there. And there was a sign on this wall that essentially said that any gentile who goes beyond this point further into the temple does so at the risk of his own life, all right? So, there was a stone marker that was there. And how do we know there was a stone marker? Because it was found back in the 1800s. It was found in Jerusalem amidst the rubble by some early archeologists there. They found this stone block, white stones, about maybe 2.5 feet wide and about 18 inches. And on it is the inscription, and it stood right here in the temple. That block is in the Istanbul Archeological Museum. And we saw that on Sunday. That was the third trip I'd made to that building, and I couldn't see it. The other two trips, our guide pulled some... He had some connections, and he got the guard to open the door and let us go into the room off the second floor of this old archeological museum in Istanbul to see several things.

We saw there was another inscription in there called the Siloam Inscription, which was an inscription that was discovered about 1880 in what is called Hezekiah's Tunnel. This Hezekiah's Tunnel is still there. I've walked through it. If you go to Jerusalem, you could walk through it. It was built by Hezekiah the king, when the Assyrians besieged Jerusalem. The two groups started digging a tunnel to bring water supply into the city so that the Assyrian siege would not cut off the water. And they dug through solid rock from two different ends, two teams, and they met in the middle. It was an engineering feat. This was the what, 800 B.C. And they met in the middle and they commemorated it by hammering out a plaque that they put onto the wall in stone. It's called the Siloam Inscription. That was discovered in 1880. And that also was in the museum. We saw that. And we saw another small inscription, a piece called the Gezer Calendar, which is a very early 900 B.C. plate or tablet. And they think it's an agricultural calendar. It's got the name Yahweh on it. It's the earliest known mention of Yahweh that's been found.

But the most interesting one was this Siloam, or this block that separated the Court of the gentiles from the Court of Israel and forbade that. And they've got it locked away. I mean, it was like we were in Indiana Jones' attic. It's under renovation, but it's all dusty and disarray. And we went in there and we saw this, and it was about a half-light. We had to shine our flashlights on it to see it. And the Siloam Inscription is a proof of, you know... In Ephesians 2, Paul says that regarding the sacrifice of Christ, it breaks down the wall of separation between Jew and gentile, okay? He's really alluding to that particular wall in the temple. And this stone in the museum commemorates that. It's also a stone that is a proof that there was a temple in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus because they know this by this stone, and it's an actual piece of physical proof.

And that runs against the political problems of today between the Jews and the Arabs. The Arabs actually make the claim that there was not a temple up there. I've heard them say that. I heard a Jordanian senator say that a few years ago to our tour group. They say that, "There was no Jewish temple up there, there was no Jewish presence. You don't have a claim to this land. It's our land." So, it gets wrapped up in politics. Well, this stone that they won't let people see up there now, after many, many years that people used to see it, it's politically incorrect. And so, it is a stone that verifies the Bible, the second temple, but also the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. And so, it's wrapped up with history, archeology, and modern politics. So, it was kind of neat to see that and point that out to the people on our tour, and we got to see it. Nobody really gets to see that anymore. I guess if they ever get done with the renovation they'll let that happen.

But that's behind this riot that comes up against Paul. And so, he makes a speech, he refers to the resurrection. That creates problems. And so, he's hauled into the barracks at the end of verse 10. Let's just go ahead and pick it up at verse 11 here of Acts 23.

Acts 23:11 “But the following night, the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Be of good cheer, Paul, for as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.’”

This was part of the mission that was given to Paul back in Acts 9, that when he was struck down on the road to Damascus, he was baptized, and his commission was given there in Acts 9:15, that he was to bear witness to the children of Israel and bear witness at Rome. God is giving him this testimony here. So, it's to encourage him that what now he is into, which is basically chains and he's going to be here for a few years, but God's with him. So, just as He did back in Corinth and appearing to him there and saying, "I have many people here and, you know, work hard, we're going to do good things here." He stood by him, and He said this phrase, again, gave him a word of encouragement at this time.

Acts 23:12 “When it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.”

So, this is kind of a humorous situation. You know, a group of Jews made vows of some sort that they would not eat or drink till they killed Paul.

Acts 23:13-15 "There were 40 of them who had formed this conspiracy. They came to the chief priest and elders and said, ‘We've bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul. Now you, therefore, together with the council, suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you tomorrow as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him, but we're ready to kill him before he comes near.’”

Now, this is one of the most... It's humorous. It's kind of ridiculous on his face as Luke writes it, that a group of Jews make this vow. And, you know, you have to wonder, how long did it take them before they were really hungry for a hot hotdog and french fries and broke their commitment to this? It's kind of pompous. It is just human pride, what we call hubris. It didn't amount to anything, but it was real and they would've executed on that.

But what happens is very interesting. So, it's a plot. Well, you know, listen, we're going to ambush him. Verse 16, Luke brings out something that kind of comes out of left field out of nowhere.

Acts 23:16 “When Paul's sister's son heard of their ambush..."

What? Paul's got a sister? He's got a nephew? Why didn't you tell us that earlier, Luke? He makes no other reference to the family of Paul, other than we know where he came from in Tarsus. We know he sat at the feet of Gamaliel. So, in his younger years, he went to, you know, kind of a graduate school of Pharisaical studies in the school of Gamaliel. Family? Nothing. We know nothing except this right here. And Luke just kind of drops it in and he moves on.

So, he had a nephew. How did the nephew find out about it? Was he a believer? Maybe not. We don't know. Somehow through, you know, connections or whatever. You know, how many people made this plot? What did it say, 40? Back in verse 13. Forty people can't keep a secret. Two people can't keep a secret, can they? Three people can't keep a secret. The surest way to get something spread is to tell somebody, “Don't tell somebody,” and it'll happen. Forty people, the word spread, and somehow Paul's nephew picks it up. And he comes to where Paul is held in the barracks.

Acts 23:17-22 “Paul called…” He came and he told Paul. “Paul then called one of the centurions to him and said, ‘Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.’” And he does. “So, he took him, brought him to the commander, and said, ‘Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to say to you.’ The commander took him by the hand, went aside to ask privately, ‘What is it?’ And he said, ‘The Jews have agreed to ask that you bring Paul down to the council tomorrow as though they were going to inquire more fully about him. But you do not yield to them for more than 40 of them lie and wait for him, men who have bound themselves by an oath will neither eat nor drink till they've killed him. And now they're ready waiting for the promise from you.’ So, the commander let the young man depart, and he commanded him, ‘Tell no one that you've revealed these things to me.’”

And so, he wasn't going to lose this particular charge that he had. He didn't want to let this get out of hand. And another riot that would end in the result of Paul. It's not that we don't know the centurion's feeling toward Paul other than they've had this exchange. Remember when Paul's arrested, he's going to beat Paul, and Paul says, “Hey, wait a minute, I'm a Roman citizen.” And the commander says, “Well, with great cost, I bought this.” And Paul says, “Well, I was born free. I was born a Roman,” which again, we have to wonder, how did that happen? A lot of speculation, but again, the scriptures just don't tell us. There's speculation that maybe Paul's family had a concession of tent making and sales and supplies for the army, the Roman Army, and that may have earned them the right of Roman citizenship.

Sometimes the question comes up, what was the proof of Roman citizenship? What if Paul had been...? What if the commander had said, “Show me your papers?” How would Paul have proven beyond saying, “Well, in the county courthouse back in Tarsus, my name's on a chart, or, you know, a tablet back there, or piece of parchment, and I was born, you know, whatever year, and these parents, and they were citizens so that's my proof?” But you don't carry those things around with you, do you? What do you carry for proof of your citizenship? What do you carry? And how many of you have a passport? Okay, that's your proof of American citizenship. When I travel internationally, that's the one thing I don't want to lose, all right? You can lose your money, you can lose your underwear, you can lose your briefcase, you can lose your computer. You can always replace those real quick. You don't want to lose your passport when you travel outside your country, because that gets you back home.

I'll tell you a quick story. It's 2007, right after the Feast of Tabernacles, Scott Ashley and I have been to Indiana Jones adventures roaming through Israel, all right? Having escapades and shenanigans and adventures of all kinds. And we've made our way back to Jordan. And we've been to the Feast in Jordan. We'd gone to Israel and we had discovered great archeological finds and new truth and everything as we had roamed through Israel. And we had gone back to Jordan, and we were going to fly out the next day, come back home. About 11:00 at night, we're in our hotel room. We're just, you know...gone to bed, early wake-up call to get to the airport. About 11:00, we're about half asleep, and an insistent knock on the door. I get up and go open the door. It's the hotel employee. “Get out. Get out of the building. We're evacuating the building now, leave.”

So, I go and wake Scott up and we have to get out into the street. We had just enough time to throw some clothes on. So, you know, we didn't go walking out there butt naked. We didn't want to do that. What do you think I took with me? I took my passport and my airline tickets. I went to the hotel safe that I had in my room. Got it out real quick. Because I figured there's a riot or there's a terrorist threat, there's been something happened and they're evacuating the hotel. And I said, “I may never get back in here.” But I knew I wanted to get out of the country. I took my passport with me. What do you think Scott Ashley took? It wasn't his passport, it was his cameras. He gathers up his expensive Nikon cameras, which are his babies, his pride and joy, and he leaves his passport behind, and he takes out. And we stand out in the street till 2:00 in the morning with every other guest in the hotel.

There had been bombings in three separate hotels in Amman, Jordan, that night. Terrorists killed about 150 people. They didn't know if one was going to go off in our building. It did not go off. But they wouldn't let us back in until they could make sure the hotel was clear. But suicide bombers had gone into some parties in three different hotels. It was Ramadan, and they were partying late at night. But I said, “Man, I want out of this country.” Got my passport, because that's your proof of citizenship. That's how I got to this point. I think I've worked my way back to that.

Paul probably carried with him what they did have in those days, which was a small leather or wooden type of an inscription that proved that. And they called that in that day, not a passport, but a diploma. A diploma. And the people would carry that with them. There were other ways to identify a Roman citizen by their dress. But that was one particular thing. So, there were documents that people would carry with them to prove these things. There's no evidence that the commander asked for proof, but he took Paul at his word there. All right. Look back in verse 23.

Acts 23:23 “And so, the commander called for two centurions saying, ‘Prepare 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night.’”

So, in the middle of the night, he's going to get Paul up, and with an armed escort, they're going to flee Jerusalem. Paul, he's fled Damascus. He's fled Berea when they let him over the wall at night. He's fleeing again, but this is the first time he's got a Roman escort. So, he's kind of risen a little bit in the power structure. Not that he's got any power. This is about half of the contingent that would've been in Jerusalem, they figure. And so, the commander's taking no chances.

Acts 23:24  “They provided mounts to set Paul on.” So, he wasn't going to walk. “He was going to ride out, bring him safely to Felix the governor.”

Felix was the Roman governor, and he was down in Caesarea. And so, the commander writes this letter to Felix.

Acts 23:26-30 He says, “Claudius Lysias,” this is the name... Claudius Lysias in verse 26 is the Roman governor's name. I'm sorry, he's the commander's name, Claudius Lysias. Felix is the governor. And he says, “To the most excellent governor Felix. Greetings. This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops, I rescued him having learned he was a Roman. And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council. I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law,” very important, not Roman law, “but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded the accusers to state before you the charges against him. Farewell.”

So, he sends with Paul kind of a report, a documentation of why this man is a prisoner, why he is being sent down to Caesarea, but he's sending it to Felix. Now, Felix, we know from other histories, was the Roman governor in the years 57 to 59. So, this is the timeframe, 57 to 59 A.D. We have documentation of this guy. The word Felix means happy. Did you ever hear Felix the cat? Yeah, he was a happy cat. That's really what it means.

I ran into a... was in Malawi on a trip a few years ago, checking out of a hotel in Malawi. And the young guy who was behind the desk in a hotel got to talking and I asked him what his name was, and he says Felix. He smiled real big, and he said, “It means happy.” And he was just a happy guy. He had his name to fit his personality there. But this Felix was not really a happy guy. He was kind of cruel and despotic. The histories that we know of the man, he's rather a vicious individual. And so, he is not very nice. But Paul's life is now in his hands.

Acts 23:31 “The soldiers, as they were commanded, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.”

This is about halfway between the two. It was a city that had been built by Herod the Great, and named after his own father, Antipater. Antipater was the father of Herod the Great. Remember Herod the Great is the progenitor of the Herodian line. That's a big 50-cent word, progenitor, but it means he's the one who starts the line of Herod from which we know and understand.

And you might want to... I did hand out... You guys I hope still have that sheet of the Herodian line that I handed out to you earlier in the year. You still have that? Yeah, you might keep that handy. You might need to know a few things on that. And so, this is where they brought him to this point and they stopped there.

Acts 23:32-35 “And the next day, they left the horsemen to go on with him and returned to the barracks.” So, some of them went back to the barracks, while others continued. “They came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, and they also presented Paul to him. And when the governor had read it,” Felix, “he asked him what province he was from. When he understood that he was from Cilicia, he said, 'I will hear you when your accusers have come.' And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's Praetorium."

So, he's down in Caesarea at this time, on the sea coast, and he's kept in a holding location right there in Caesarea, Herod's Praetorium or part of the complex there. So, Paul's at an interesting point here. He is caught between the powers of two cities, Jerusalem and Rome. The powers in Jerusalem are the Jews at this point in the story, and they want to kill Paul, all right? So, he's got the Jews. And the other power is Rome, okay? And he's in the charge of, you know, part of the legion here with a centurion over him. He's caught between what we say a rock and a hard place, a religious and civil power. And he doesn't have any soldiers himself. Paul doesn't have any weapons. He has no political power with either group. He's a renegade to the Jews. He's, you know, kind of this itinerant world-traveling preacher, whatever they may know about him as they learn about him, you know, among the Romans, but he has no power with them, even though he is a Roman citizen, and the Jews want to kill him. The only power that he has is the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Think about that. How much power do you have? How much power do I have? Well, when it comes right down to it, it's just the Word of God and God's Spirit is all the power we have.

But if we know how to yield to both and use both, we have all the power we need for the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of the Jews as they had it at that time, nor the kingdom of Rome as great and powerful and mighty as it was. One of the things that I think everyone who made the trip with us to the seven Churches sites in Turkey, ancient Asia Minor, as we go to places like Ephesus and Pergamon and Sardis and Smyrna, you have the remnants of the power of Rome, especially in Ephesus and in Pergamon. And it's a pretty good graphic display of the power that was there at the time that the Church was dealing with. And Paul finds himself caught up in the midst of this now. He is a prisoner, and he's going to be a prisoner for several years, and he's going to make it all the way to Rome where the Book is going to end.

And ultimately, Paul will be released, but he's imprisoned a second time, and it's in that second imprisonment that tradition has it that he was killed in the mid-60s in Rome, all right? So, his time of ministering as we've been reading about in the Book of Acts now changes. In between his first and second imprisonment, he could very well and likely did make some other trips, but we're not given that record in the Book of Acts. Luke is led by God's Spirit to now focus upon this time of imprisonment. And a lot of speeches.

From this point forward, we're dealing with the record of Paul as he defends himself before these Roman officials. And it's one speech after another, and then the story of his transfer to Rome and why God led Luke to write it that way at this point after one episode, after episode, after episode with the other parts of the Book of Acts and Peter and John and Paul, and all the other stories. I think you have to put that all into a proper perspective. God is giving the beginnings of the Church. He is showing the faith and the power of the Spirit that worked in the Church in those years by which they preached the gospel and took the gospel out. And now in this history, we've moved to a new phase that focuses only upon Paul and his imprisonment. And Paul gives some very interesting information in what he says, and as Luke records it, that helps us to really understand the message of the gospel. And we'll talk about that as we go through it. So, let's go on into Chapter 24 as Paul is now in Caesarea.

Acts 24:1 “After five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul.”

So, again, the charges that were laid against Paul constituted a major case. Tertullus is set to kind of be the prosecutor of the case. And it's clear that as he begins to talk about it that his main point is to prove Paul's sedition against Rome. Sedition being his teaching was undermining the authority and the power of Rome, and, you know, by that was guilty of treason. And these are the charges that are here as part of this.

And they're wanting to play to Felix. One of the things that you must understand that we know from the history of this governor named Felix is that he had crucified a number of leaders of various uprisings among the Jews and had killed many for disturbing the Pax Romana, the peace of Rome, in his history. This was his M.O. And so, it seems that the high priest and the other Jewish leaders have contrived with this Tertullus who's kind of their prosecutor to make the case and seek to get Rome to do the dirty work for them. That seems to be what is building up here for disturbing the peace of Rome. Deep down, they probably know that Paul hasn't really taught against the law, but because he is teaching Christ as the resurrected Messiah, they are incensed by that. But they know that that's not enough for them to kill him. And they can't prove that, so they're trying to get Rome to do their dirty work for them, and they are playing to the cruelty of Felix here.

Acts 24:2 “When he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation saying: ‘Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace.’”

You know, you talk about phony flattery. This is what it was, because number one, it was not true. Again, from Josephus's history, we know that there was a time of a lot of unrest that kept popping up. And so, there wasn't great peace, but they were trying to flatter Felix.

Acts 24:2-5 “And prosperities being brought to this nation by your foresight.” But Felix had nothing to do with it, but they're buttering him up. “We accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further,” of course, they'd already gone too far, probably in Felix's mind already, “I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us. 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,”

All right? This is a reference to the Church, the sect called the Nazarenes after Jesus of Nazareth. And so, this is what they are calling them here. They don't call them the Church of God, they don't even call them the Way. Luke tends to bring that in as he describes the Church by calling it the Way and the work that was done in that way. Here they're calling them Nazarenes.

Acts 24:6-9 “‘He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law. But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.’ And also the Jews assented, maintaining these things were so.”

So, they all brought up their... You know, if they had their documentation like this, they brought it to the bench, to the court, laid it all down, filed their briefs, and backed up what was being said here in this legal prosecution that they're making. Now, Paul then has a chance to speak.

Acts 24:10-11 “After the governor nodded to him, Paul answered. ‘'Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself, because you may ascertain that it is no more than 12 days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship.’”

So, Paul's not getting involved in a lot of phony flattery. Lesson learned. You know, if you are called on the carpet for something in your job, let's say, you know, you're called before your supervisor, president of the company, division head, or whatever it might be, you’ve got to be very careful what you say. And you want to know certainly what you're being accused of. You don't want to be overly defensive. You want to be factual, you want to explain, you want to be bold enough to own your mistakes.

The Jews try to use flattery. Paul is pretty direct. He says, "I know you've been a judge of this nation for many years." So, that's what you call the handshake. You know, when you get up, guys, to give a sermonette, take a minute to shake hands with your audience figuratively. You know, hello, good morning. Glad to be here with you. Maybe comment about something going on or thanking somebody for the music or, you know, it's been a while since you've been here. But you want to make a handshake in a figurative way of friendliness before you just launch into, you know, your exposition, your brilliant exposition of Revelation 17, okay? Be personable. Acknowledge that you're human. And don't start off, you know, telling everybody how great your sum of knowledge is. It's called a handshake with your audience. And then you get into your topic.

Paul was a little bit more like that. And he says... You know, he goes right down the list.

Acts 24:14-18 “They neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 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 are written in the law and in the prophets. 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. This being so, I myself, always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. After many years, I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation.” He'd brought an offering from Corinth, and he was going to make an offering to the Church to help the Church. And, of course, he did go into the Tabernacle to fulfill a vow there, or into the temple. And he said, “And in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult.”

And so remember they said he's brought this... There were some from Asia and probably from Ephesus who knew him from Ephesus, and they saw him there. Remember, this was a pilgrimage feast. This was at the time of Pentecost. So, the Jews would've come in from all over to be in Jerusalem. And that's what was the genesis of the accusation. “They found me,” he said, “neither with a mob nor with tumult.” He wasn't there as a troublemaker. They created the trouble with the mob and a riot.

Acts 24:19 He said, “They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me.”

Actually, Paul had been pretty busy. When he came to Jerusalem, he brought an offering. He'd met with the other elders. He'd gone into the temple, no doubt done other things. He wasn't there to get involved in gossip, trivialities, or, you know, a lot of other matters that could have led to accusations like this. The Jews were the ones who had kind of been negligent, not really being diligent to the matters before them. They were so envious of Paul that... You know, the whole story here whether it was initially envious of Peter and John, the early Church, now of Paul, this is what's getting into them. It's envy.

Paul has made inroads. The gospel has made inroads into the Jewish legitimacy and Jewish authority. Envy is a very insidious sin, along with pride. They are two things you don't want to get caught up in. You do not want to be so proudful and full of pride and envy. You know, think about how you react when something good happens to somebody else. They get the job, they get the appointment, they get the title. Are you happy for them? Or is there something inside that says, “I wish I had that, I deserve that, I should have been appointed to that?” If that's how you feel, that's envy. And that can lead to bitterness. You don't want to get caught up with envy. It's one of the works of the flesh, Paul says in Galatians 5. And it's very close to pride. And these Jews were filled with envy toward Paul. And all they could do was scheme. Whenever he got close enough, scheming to try to kill him is what is going on here.

Acts 24:20-21 Paul says, “Let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council. 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.”

That's what brought him here, that he had preached the resurrection. That Christ had come out of that tomb after three days and three nights, was ascended to the Father, was the resurrected savior. Now, Jews by not being there, not all of them being present, the ones that were involved in this, there was a violation of Roman law because it called for face-to-face between the accused and the accuser. And this Tertullus was a puppet for the hierarchy who themselves were not even there on that day when the mob took action. They seemed to be stepping into it at a later point in order to take advantage of Paul now being in Roman chains.

Acts 24:22 “When Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way.” So he seemed to know something about the Church, “He adjourned the proceedings and said, ‘When Lysias the commander comes down, I'll make a decision on your case.’”

This is Claudius Lysias, the commander of the garrison back in Jerusalem, who had sent a report. He said, “When he comes, I'll make a decision.” He's procrastinating, and we'll find out why in a minute.

Acts 24:23 “So, he commanded the centurion to keep Paul, to let him have liberty,” so he had a bit of freedom, “and he told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him.”

So, it's kind of like a modified house arrest, would appear that perhaps the chains were off at this point. And he had a bit of liberty, although they would go back on, as we will see later.

Acts 24:24 “But after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.”

Now, this is an interesting scene. Here's again where it's important to know a little bit about the names of these people that we can find from Josephus, again, the Jewish historian of the 1st century, and in some cases, other histories. And we can learn about who these people are, and that helps us to understand what is being said in the episode here. This Drusilla was the wife of Felix, but we know from the histories that she was his third wife. Third wife. No, Felix. Drusilla was the wife of Felix, verse 24. Did I say something?

[Man] Oh, no, no, no. Yes, you're right.

[Darris McNeely] Okay. All right. She's his third wife. She is the youngest daughter of a guy named Herod Agrippa I, all right? She's part of the Herodian line, this line of Herod the Great. And you really should know these things. And, you know, I've got that... Remember that chart that I gave you on these things? To know a little bit about the Herod family, you don't have to know an awful lot, but it helps you to appreciate the Church, Paul, James, remember, who was killed by an earlier Herod, it helps to understand these people and why they enter the story when they do and do what they do.

Let's go ahead and pause there. We'll pick that up in the next class here at verse 24, and talk a little bit about this episode as Paul convicts these two people with the very powerful and short message that he gives to them.