May 05, 2020 – Tuesday
Acts 23:27-30 NIV
27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen.
28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin.
29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment.
30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.
Yesterday we left off with Paul on horseback escorted out to Caesarea by two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, two hundred spearmen and two centurions at night to see Governor Felix. Along with all the Roman soldiers he wrote a letter to Governor Felix of Caesarea, the contents of the letter are our verses for today above describing why Paul was being sent to him.
The trip to Caesarea included a stopover at Antipatris where the cavalry continued on with Paul to Caesarea while the rest of the soldiers returned to their barracks. Upon arrival Felix had Paul held on house arrest in Herod’s palace until his accusers could arrive so he could hear both sides of Paul’s case.
Going into the next chapter we find Paul had to wait five days for the high priest Ananias to arrive with some elders and a lawyer by the name of Tertullus. The lawyer presented the following case to Felix against Paul: Paul: 5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him, and we would have judged him in accordance with our law. 7 But the commander Lysias came and took him from us with much violence, 8 ordering his accusers to come before you.8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.” (Note: many manuscripts do not include verse 7) Of course many who came with the lawyer spoke up and also stated the claims were true.
When Paul was given the opportunity to speak in his defense he replied with a great statement of faith: 10 I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
Paul continued on and concluded stating there was no crime they found in me 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’ Which we know resulted in a fight between the Pharisees and the Sadducees of the Sanhedrin he addressed. While this may read like a great trial between right and wrong that we might read in a novel or watch on TV it did not have an ending we would expect in a book or TV show. Instead Felix ordered Paul held under guard (meaning prison), but with privileges so friends could help with his needs.
You might reasonably expect that Paul’s ordeal with this would soon be over, but you would be wrong. Instead after hearing Paul speak about his faith in Christ Jesus, righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come with Felix and his Jewish wife Drusilla, he kept Paul in prison for two years hoping/desiring a bribe before he would release him. So when 27 Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.
Tomorrow we will see if Paul’s persecution and imprisonment finally comes to an end under the new governor in chapter twenty-five.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton