Summary of Acts 24:
Ananias shows up in Caesarea with a fancy lawyer, Tertullus, who begins by flattering Felix and then listing false charges against Paul. Paul defends himself by denying all charges except for following Christ and believing in Christ’s resurrection. Thus, Paul has a clear conscience before God and man.
Paul denies all accusations and states the real reason he is on trial: because he believes in the resurrection of the dead (i.e. Jesus). Felix again defers a decision on Paul’s case. Felix sent for Paul to explain the Christian faith to him and his Jewish wife but fear sank into him and he dismissed Paul back to his prison cell. Felix was also secretly hoping for a bribe.
Felix leaves Paul in prison to appease the Jews for 2 years and is replaced by Festus.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 26, Day 2: Acts 24
3) Paul is called a troublemaker, and he is accused of stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is accused of being a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and of trying to desecrate the temple. Paul merely points out that his accusers cannot prove anything, and he admits to following Christ, worshippping God, agreeing with the Law and the Prophets, and having the hope of resurrection.
4a) Faith in Jesus Christ, righteousness, self-control, and the judgement.
b) Because as non-believers, Paul probably mentioned they were going to Hell.
c) Because they are afraid, they don’t understand God, they don’t see evidence of God, they believe God is illogical, they can’t reconcile suffering with a loving God, they don’t need a god, they don’t want to be accountable to a god, and they are afraid of what others might think of them if they turn to God.
5) Personal Question. My answer: Paul shared the gospel no matter his situation. I, too, can share the gospel no matter my situation as well.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 26, Day 2: Acts 24
Note: Paul says again (24:16) how his conscience is clear before God and man, the same words that got him struck by Ananias in 23:1. Paul never deviates from the truth no matter the consequences. What we all should do.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 26, Day 2: Acts 24
The Jewish leadership brought a man named Tertullus – a skilled lawyer – to present their case.
The presence of such high officials at the court of Felix reminds us of how serious the Jewish leadership was about obtaining a conviction against Paul.
Antonius Felix began life as a slave. His brother Pallas was a friend of the emperor Claudius; through such influence, he rose in status – first as a child gaining freedom, and then through intrigue he became the first former slave to become a governor of a Roman province.
The Sin of Flattery
Flattery is an often-neglected sin, one that the Bible speaks about more often than one might think. Romans 16:18 speaks to us of those who do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. Jude 1:16 speaks of those who mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.
Four different times the Book of Proverbs connects flattery with the sin of sexual immorality. Many people have been seduced into immorality through simple flattery.
The charges against Paul were that he was politically dangerous and that he had profaned the temple. Basically, that he was terrorist.
The reference to Paul being a Nazarene was intended to connect him to a generally despised and lowly place. It was term of slight scorn used for the followers of Jesus. Nazareth had a poor reputation as a city (John 1:46).
Tertullus gave an unintended compliment as he described the extent of Paul’s work in the Roman Empire.
Profaning the temple was the only really specific charge against Paul; but Tertullus gave no evidence for this charge because there was no evidence. This was a fabricated charge based on rumor only (Acts 21:26-29).
Paul used no flattery in his address to Felix. Paul’s accusers gave no witnesses either.
Tertullus called Christianity the sect of the Nazarenes (Acts 24:5) Paul called it the Way.
Felix’s Decison by Indecision
Felix avoided a decision under the pretense of waiting for more evidence through the Roman commander Lysias. But Felix clearly had enough evidence to make a decision in Paul’s favor.
Felix tried to walk a middle ground. He knew Paul was innocent, yet he did not want to identify himself with Paul’s gospel and the Christians. So he made no decision and kept Paul in custody.
Felix wanted his wife to hear Paul’s testimony, either as a curiosity or so that she could advise him. After all, he claimed to have insufficient evidence for a decision.
Drusilla was the sister of Herod Agrippa II and Bernice mentioned in Acts 25. Drusilla was beautiful, ambitious, and about 20 years old at this point. Felix seduced her away from her husband and made her his third wife.
Why Was Felix Afraid?
The gospel should make those who are intent on rejecting Jesus afraid.
Felix rejected Jesus under the pretense of delaying his decision.
Many respond to the gospel in this way; they express their rejection through delay, by delaying their decision to commit to Jesus Christ – but it is rejection none the less. The Bible tells us to come to Jesus in repentance and faith today: Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Felix seems to have been a completely ineffective leader since he couldn’t make any decisions. If you don’t choose Christ today, you could die tomorrow, and then you are damned for eternity.
Under Roman law, the type of custody Paul was in could only last two years. Felix showed that he was willing to break Roman laws by keeping Paul for more than two years.
Felix refused to release Paul, though he knew that he was innocent. He did this for the same reason Pilate condemned Jesus while knowing His innocence. They both acted out of pure political advantage.
In a way, people like Felix and Pilate are the guiltiest of those who reject Jesus Christ. They know what is right but refuse to do right purely out of the fear of man. They have an eternally fatal lack of courage.