Paul Transported to Caesarea – Acts 23-24

The high priest (in Acts 23) unlawfully ordered him to be struck. Paul predicted Ananias’ demise in verse 3, and he actually was killed by his own people at the start of the Jewish war. Paul”s accusers were to point out Paul’s disrespect for him, yet ignored the willful violation made against Paul. At that point, he would have no question about whether he would receive a fair hearing from them.

The excution of the Pharisees by Alexander Jan...

The excution of the Pharisees by Alexander Jannaeus, by Willem Swidde, 17th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul then played the Pharisees and Sadducees against each other — with the truth. The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection, but the Pharisees did. Paul’s statement in verse 6 makes that division so sharp that it became violent. The Roman tribune then feared that Paul would be torn to pieces, and had the soldiers remove him and take him to the barracks. Paul’s statement that set it in motion was “brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” Paul had been raised a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5-9), and it was indeed because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the hope, that he was on trial. The following night, the Lord stood by him for encouragement and told him that he must go to Rome to testify the facts about Him (verse 11).

The Jews then feared that Paul’s fate was slipping away. More than forty of them conspired to kill him, taking an oath not to eat or drink until they had done so. In verse 14, we learn that the chief priests and elders were involved in this despicable plot. But Paul’s sister learned of the plot and sent her son to warn him. Paul then sent his nephew to tell the tribune (whose name was Claudius Lysias). Lysias then composed a letter to Felix the governor (verse 26-30), putting himself in a favorable light. At his orders, Paul gets an escort of two hundred soldiers to deliver him and the letter to Antipatris by the dark of night. Upon reading the letter and questioning Paul as to his birthplace, he ordered Paul held in Herod’s praetorium (one of Herod’s palaces that the governor used for his quarters).

In chapter 24, Paul had been escorted to Caesarea. He finally appeared before Felix after Ananias and the rest of his accusers arrived.  When Felix gave Paul his turn to speak, he laid out his defense, disputing the accusations with the obvious truth – which his accusers were unable to counter.  In verse 14, he “confessed” that he is a part of “the Way” (which Tertullus called “the sect of the Nazarenes,”), through which he worships “the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.”   Thus, Paul not only makes the case that he is a “good Jew,” but that Christianity is God’s divine will.

Felix seemed to be aware of Paul’s innocence. But he was more interested in the possibility of getting some money from him over a period of time (verse 26), as well as garnering support from the Jews.  After two years had passed, he left Paul in prison as a favor to them when he was replaced by Porcius Festus.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Acts 23, Acts 24, Acts 25, Acts 26, Acts 27

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

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