1 And after five days the high priest, Ananias, descended with the elders and with an attorney named Tertullus: and they brought charges to the governor against Paul. 2 And when he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him saying, Since by you we enjoy great quietness, and very worthy deeds are done for this nation by your providence, 3 we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. 4 But, that I not weary you any further, I beg you to grant us by your kindness a brief hearing. 5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, inciting insurrection among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: 6 Who also profaned the temple: Whom we took and would have judged according to our law. 7 But the chief captain, Lysias, came upon us with great violence and took him away out of our hands, 8 ordering his accusers to come before you: By examining him yourself you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him. 9 And the Jews also agreed, saying that these things were so.
- Matthew 5:11 Blessed are you, when men revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for this is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
There will be a resurrection of the dead both of the just and unjust
10 Then Paul, after the governor had signaled for him to speak, answered, Knowing for many years that you have been a judge of this nation, I more cheerfully make my defense: 11 You can take note of the fact that not more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, nor inciting the people, not in the synagogues, nor in the city: 13 Neither can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess to you, that after the way which they call heresy, I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: 15 And have hope toward God, which these men cherish themselves, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
- The word ‘hope’ often means confidence--not weakness or uncertainty but unshakable certainty.
- Isaiah 26:19 Your dead men will live, together with my dead body will they arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth will cast out the dead.
- Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Judgment is coming
16 In view of this I do my best to maintain a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men. 17 Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation. 18 Upon which certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a crowd, nor with an uproar. 19 Who ought to be present before you and accuse, if they had anything against me. 20 Or else let these ones here say if they have found anything unjust while I stood before the council, 21 other than this one statement that I shouted standing among them, concerning the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day. 22 And when Felix heard these things, having a more perfect knowledge of that way, he put them off saying, When Lysias the chief captain comes down, I will decide your case. 23 And he ordered a centurion to guard Paul and let him have freedom and allowed his acquaintances to come to minister to him. 24 After some days Felix arrived with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning faith in Christ. 25 But as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled and answered, Go your way for this time; when I have a convenient season I will call for you. 26 He hoped also that money would be given to him by Paul to release him: so he sent for him often and communed with him. 27 But after two years Porcius Festus replaced Felix: and Felix, wishing to please the Jews, left Paul bound.
- Philippians 1:13-14 So that my bonds in Christ are shown in all the palace, and in all other places; 14 And many of the brothers in the Lord, grow confident because of my bonds, and are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
- Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those that love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose.
God shielded Paul through human authority
1 Now when Festus came into the province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2 Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews brought charges against Paul, and urged him, 3 asking a favor against him, that he send him to Jerusalem, plotting to kill him along the way. 4 But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would go there shortly. 5 He said, Let those among you who are able go down with me and accuse this man if there is any wickedness in him.
- Psalm 33:20 Our soul waits for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.
6 And when he had stayed among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea; and the next day, sitting on the judgment seat, he commanded Paul to be brought. 7 And when he came, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around and lodged many grievous complaints against Paul that they could not prove. 8 Defending himself he said, Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I offended in anything at all. 9 But Festus, wanting to please the Jews answered Paul and said, Will you go up to Jerusalem and be judged there regarding these things before me? 10 Then Paul said, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat where I ought to be judged: I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you very well know. 11 For if I am an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die: but if there are none of these things of which these accuse me, no man may deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar. 12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council/sanhedrin answered, You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go.
- These earthly rulers stand in the place of God.
- God will judge their actions according to the fairness and rightness of their decisions.
- Paul is not in prison for anything he had recently done wrong. But rather he is in prison because of persecution.
- But Paul had also put many Christians prison because of their belief in Jesus. He reaped what He sowed and God used if for the good of all.
- The prison epistles were written during Paul’s imprisonments.
- Today we are blessed by what Paul wrote from prison.
- God was with Paul; He shielded and protected him while in prison.
Jesus is alive
13 And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to salute Festus. 14 And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's case to the king saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: 15 About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews made a statement, asking judgment against him. 16 To whom I answered, It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to die before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has opportunity to make a defense against the charges. 17 So when they came there, without any delay, the next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought out. 18 Against whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no charges against him that I suspected: 19 But they had some points against him about their own religion, and of one Jesus, who was dead, but Paul affirmed to be alive.
- Acts 1:3 To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen by them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God
20 And because I was puzzled about this inquiry, I asked him if he would go to Jerusalem and be judged there regarding these matters. 21 But when Paul appealed to be kept for the examination of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept until I might send him to Caesar. 22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, I would also hear the man myself. Tomorrow, he said, you will hear him. 23 So the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered into the auditorium with the chief captains and prominent men of the city; and at Festus' command, Paul was brought out. 24 And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men who are here present with us, you see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he should not to live any longer. 25 But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death and that he himself has appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him. 26 Of whom I have nothing to write to my lord. So I have brought him out before you, and specifically before you, O king Agrippa, that after examination I might have something to write. 27 For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not specify the accusations against him.
- God’s wisdom is shown here in that He placed the Jews under Roman authority.
- These Romans listened objectively and saw that Paul had done nothing wrong.
- The Jewish leadership was under strong influence of evil. They were killing God’s messengers and anyone who stood in their greedy way.
- God had a list of crimes against us.
- Christ took it out of the way.
- Even the unfair judgments of unrighteous rulers were laid on Christ at the cross.
- Heaven is now free to all.
- Colossians 2:13-15 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, You are permitted to speak for yourself. Then Paul stretched out the hand and answered for himself: 2 I count myself happy, king Agrippa, because I will answer for myself this day before you regarding all the things of which I am accused by the Jews: 3 Especially because I know you to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: therefore I beg you to hear me patiently. 4 All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, which was at the first among my own nation at Jerusalem. 5 Who knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers: 7 The promise to which our twelve tribes, worshipping God earnestly night and day, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. 8 Why should it be thought an incredible thing with you, that God should raise the dead?
- Paul had been under arrest for 2 years at Caesarea since the attempt on his life in Jerusalem.
- Hope is unshakable certainty not just wishful thinking.
- Isaiah 26:19 Your dead men will live, together with my dead body will they rise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth will cast out the dead.
- John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet he will live: 26 And whoever lives and believes in me will never die…
God is blinding heavenly glory
9 Truly I myself planned to do many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And I did in Jerusalem: I shut up many of the saints in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. 11 And I often punished them in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being greatly furious against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. 12 And as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, I saw in the road a light from heaven, brighter than the sun shining around me and around those who journeyed with me.
- Revelation 1:16 … and his countenance was like the sun shining in his strength.
14 And when we had all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking to me, saying in the Hebrew language, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the pricks.
- This phrase Jesus said to Paul, “It is hard for you to kick against the pricks,” refers to the ox goad used to move livestock in the direction you want them to go.
- Jesus told Paul that He had been trying to goad Paul in the right direction and Paul was turning around, kicking the stick and hurting himself.
Jesus appears, delivers, sends, forgives all, sanctifies, and gives and infinite inheritance
15 And I said, Who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom you persecute. 16 Rise up, stand on your feet: for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen, and of those things in the which I will appear to you; 17 Delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles, unto whom I now send you, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
- Revelation 21:7 He that overcomes will inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he will be my son.
19 At this, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision: 20 But showed first to them of Damascus and at Jerusalem and throughout all the coasts of Judea and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do works fit for repentance. 21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and tried to kill me.
Christ suffered, rose from the dead first, and gives light
22 Having therefore obtained help from God, I continue until this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come: 23 That Christ would suffer, and that he would be the first to rise from the dead, and show light unto the people and to the Gentiles. 24 And as he spoke this for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, your are beside yourself; much learning makes you insane. 25 But he said, I am not insane, most noble Festus; but speak words of truth and soberness. 26 For the king knows about these things, before whom I also speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him, for this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe. 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, You almost persuade me to be a Christian. 29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only you, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether as I am, except for these chains. 30 And when he had spoken this, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and those that sat with them: 31 And when they had gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man has done nothing worthy of death or of chains. 32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, This man might have been set free, if he had not appealed to Caesar.
- Hebrews13:6 … we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man can do to me.
SUMMARY: Acts 24-26
- There will be a resurrection of the dead both of the just and unjust
- Judgment is coming
- God shielded Paul through human authority
- Jesus is alive
- God is blinding heavenly glory
- Jesus appears, delivers, sends, forgives all, sanctifies, and gives and infinite inheritance
- God helps
- Christ suffered, rose from the dead first, and gives light