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

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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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Almost Persuaded – Acts 26

Agrippa-02The outburst of Festus during Paul’s reference to the fulfilling of all that Moses and the prophets said would take place would seem to affirm his alignment with the Jewish accusers. But Paul seems pretty confident that Agrippa is not so inclined. Note verse 27 – “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” Agrippa is no fool, and Paul is surely not foolish enough to speak hastily when he says in verse 26: “For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner.” Indeed, regarding that last phrase, Coffman summed it up beautifully:

“That earthquake which accompanied the Son of God in his visitation of our planet is still sending shock waves around the earth. The fact of his birth split human history into B.C. and A.D.; his crucifixion bruised the head of Satan himself; his resurrection brought life and immortality to light through the gospel; his teachings monitor the deeds and thoughts of all men; and his word shall judge the living and the dead at the Last Day. Done in a corner? Yes, in a little corner of the universe known as the Planet Earth; but that earth can never forget him, or get rid of him. As some of the Sadducees and Pharisees were able to see while he was among them: “The world is gone after him (John 12:19).”

Verse 28 is difficult in translation, but regardless of the translated version, it says that Agrippa was not quite ready to accept the fact of Jesus as Lord and Christ; and is the inspiration for the hymn, “Almost Persuaded.” Paul’s response is that he would have Agrippa and all who hear him to be as Paul himself is (minus the chains, of course) – that is, to believe in the Lord.

Agrippa’s statement to Festus after he, Bernice and the others had met outside Paul’s presence (verses 30-32) is a sort of vindication, but not the end of Paul’s ordeal. Agrippa could have set Paul free if he had not appealed to Caesar, but he had no choice by law but to send him to so appear before the emperor.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

Paul and Agrippa – Acts 26

Coin of Porcius Festus

Coin of Porcius Festus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the chapter opens, Agrippa has given Paul permission to speak in his defense. In verses 2-3, Paul speaks of feeling fortunate to be appearing before Agrippa, since he was familiar with “the customs and controversies of the Jews.” In fact, Agrippa’s reputation was that of a pious Jew, though much of the rest of his reputation was not so good. Still, he was (like his uncle Herod) in control of the temple treasury, and the Romans consulted him on religious matters.

Paul then tells Agrippa of his persecution of Christians before his conversion, then gives us the third account in this book of his vision – his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus (the other two being in Acts 9 and Acts 22), and ending with the charge that Jesus gave him (verses 15-18). From this chapter’s account, we have more details about what Jesus said to him on that first occasion. “To kick against the goads” in verse 14 is an old proverbial saying that refers to use of a pointed instrument to prod oxen as they plowed. A stubborn ox that continued to kick would only injure itself if it continued to do so – making its resistance futile.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

Festus Meets with Agrippa II and Bernice – Acts 25

Herod Agrippa II was the seventh and last king...

Herod Agrippa II was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, thus last of the Herodians. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After some days, Festus met with King Agrippa II and his sister, Bernice, who was always by his side (one of his other siblings was Drusilla, who was the wife of Festus’ predecessor, Felix). This Agrippa was educated in the court of the emperor Claudius, and was the son of Herod Agrippa I, who in Acts 12:1-3 had the Apostle James killed and Peter arrested, and who the Lord stuck down dead in Acts 12:21-23. He was also the great-grandson of Herod the Great – who had ordered the killing of all the male children of the region around Bethlehem when Jesus was born. As Festus laid out the case against Paul, he concluded by surmising that the matter was a dispute about their religion, and the death of “a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive” (verse 19).

The next day, Festus introduced Paul, saying in a nutshell that (interestingly enough) he had found no charge deserving of death for Paul, and therefore he thought it wise to have him appear to Agrippa, so that maybe he (Festus) would have “something to write” before sending him to Caesar.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

Chief Priests Try to Get Paul Sent back to Jerusalem- Acts 25

Antonius Felix was the Roman procurator of Iud...

Antonius Felix was the Roman procurator of Iudaea Province 52-58, in succession to Ventidius Cumanus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Antonius Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus as the Roman procurator of Judea from about 59 to 62 AD. During his reign, hostility to Roman rule was heating to a fevered pitch, preceding the “Great Revolt” (the Jewish-Roman war of AD 66) that ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Wasting no time after Festus assumed his role, verse 2 says that “the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul,” trying to persuade him to send Paul to Jerusalem so they could ambush him.

These “chief priests and principal men” were most likely of the Sanhedrin, and had conspired with more than 40 others to kill Paul in Acts 23:12-15. In verse 9, Festus was ready to send Paul to Jerusalem as a favor to the Jews, when Paul invoked his right as a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

Felix Keeps Paul in Prison – Acts 24

Coin of Porcius Festus

Coin of Porcius Festus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Felix gave him his turn, Paul laid out his defense in verses 10-21, methodically disputing the accusations with the obvious truth – which his accusers were unable to counter. In verse 14, he “confesses” 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 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.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

Paul Invokes Roman Citizenship – Acts 19

Coin of Porcius Festus

Coin of Porcius Festus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Antonius Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus as the Roman procurator of Judea from about 59 to 62 AD. During his reign, hostility to Roman rule was heating to a fevered pitch, preceding the “Great Revolt” (the Jewish-Roman war of AD 66) that ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Wasting no time after Festus assumed his role, verse 2 says that “the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul,” trying to persuade him to send Paul to Jerusalem so they could ambush him.

These “chief priests and principal men” were most likely of the Sanhedrin, and had conspired with more than 40 others to kill Paul in Acts 23:12-15. In verse 9, Festus was ready to send Paul to Jerusalem as a favor to the Jews, when Paul invoked his right as a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar.


Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

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.

 

 

 

 

Acts 25 – Paul Appeals to Caesar

After Festus arrived in Caesarea to become governor instead of Felix, he judged Paul

Antonius Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus as the Roman procurator of Judea from about 59 to 62 AD.  During his reign, hostility to Roman rule was heating to a fevered pitch, preceding the “Great Revolt” (the Jewish-Roman war of AD 66) that ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.  Wasting no time after Festus assumed his role, verse 2 says that “the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul,” trying to persuade him to send Paul to Jerusalem so they could ambush him.  These “chief priests and principal men” were most likely of the Sanhedrin, and had conspired with more than 40 others to kill Paul in Acts 23:12-15.  In verse 9, Festus was ready to send Paul to Jerusalem as a favor to the Jews, when Paul invoked his right as a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar.

After some days, Festus met with King Agrippa II and his sister, Bernice, who was always by his side (one of his other siblings was Drusilla, who was the wife of Festus’ predecessor, Felix).  This Agrippa was educated in the court of the emperor Claudius, and was the son of Herod Agrippa I, who in Acts 12:1-3 had the Apostle James killed and Peter arrested, and who the Lord stuck down dead in Acts 12:21-23.  He was also the great-grandson of Herod the Great – who had ordered the killing of all the male children of the region around Bethlehem when Jesus was born.   As Festus laid out the case against Paul, he concluded by surmising that the matter was a dispute about their religion, and the death of “a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive” (verse 19).

The first Herod, called The Great, wanted to honor his patron, Augustus Caesar, with a fine harbor. Joppa was not fitting since it was dominated by strong Jewish, anti-Roman, feelings. So Herod spent twelve years building a magnificent harbor and naming it Caesarea. Here Paul was imprisoned for two years and brought to trial before governors Felix and Festus, King Agrippa, and Bernice. Ruins here are from both Roman times and later Crusader times, about 1100-1300 A.D. Ruins of the Crusader city.

The next day, Festus introduced Paul, saying in a nutshell that (interestingly enough) he had found no charge deserving of death for Paul, and therefore he thought it wise to have him appear to Agrippa, so that maybe he (Festus) would have “something to write” before sending him to Caesar.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

 

Acts 24 – Paul Before Felix at Caesarea

While Paul was held as a prisoner in Caesarea, Tertullus came to accuse him before governor Felix (Acts 24).

Having been escorted to Caesarea on the order of Lysias, the Roman tribune, Paul finally appears before Felix after Ananias and the rest of his accusers arrive.  Not much is known about the “spokesman,” Tertullus.  Some suppose that he may have been a both a Gentile (which, if true, this blogger finds nearly hilariously ironic and hypocritical) and a lawyer.  When he addresses Felix, he begins by flattering him with praise about his reforms and the “peace” they enjoy.  This was utter nonsense!  Antonius Felix is remembered today for his cruelty, bribe-taking, and general corruption; and the crime rate soared under his reign in Judea.   When he went back to Rome after his tenure, he was accused of using a dispute between Jews and Syrians to murder and pillage numbers of the  people of Caesarea. He escaped prosecution thanks to his brother, Marcus Antonius Pallas, who had been the secretary of treasury to Emperor Claudius.

When Felix gave him his turn, Paul laid out his defense in verses 10-21, methodically disputing the accusations with the obvious truth – which his accusers were unable to counter.  In verse 14, he “confesses” 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 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.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.