verses for this week: 1 Tim 5:17 Let the
elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially
they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Introduction: In Chapter 24, the elders come down from Jerusalem
and bring an eloquent speaker named Tertullus to bring their
accusations against Paul. He
did an excellent job, and Paul spoke in his own defense and pointed
out how nothing they claimed against him could be proven.
Felix later allowed Paul to come before he and his wife
Drusilla where Christ was presented by Paul for their salvation. Felix
was under such great conviction that he trembled, and told Paul to
go away and come back at a time when it was more convenient.
As far was we know, Felix never found that more convenient
time. We need to not
fall for the trick of procrastination that Satan uses to keep the
lost bound under sin.
was later replaced as governor of Judea, and when he departs the
office, he does the Jews a favor by leaving Paul bound in prison.
Paul Before Festus
Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days
he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him
against Paul, and besought him,
And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to
Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.
is a ruler that we have little information about with the exception
of what is said about him here in the bible.
The historian Josephus discussed him and said that he had a
good name and was a conscientious ruler.
After only three days in office there in Caesarea, Festus
goes down to Jerusalem to find out more about the people he was to
rule. We see the
difference in what is presented to Festus is that no orator like
Tertullus was present, but just the high priest and the chief of the
Jews. Little had
changed in their hatred for Paul, as it says in verse three they
sought favor that they might have Paul sent back where they could
lie in wait and kill him.
If you remember, they had earlier planned to kill Paul before
the Captain sent him to Felix. It had been over two years since
had been judged by Felix.
But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room:
and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea,
and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go
down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in
And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he
went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment
seat commanded Paul to be brought.
showed wisdom and said that Paul would stay there at Caesarea and
those that had any accusations against him should come and present
them as Festus sat on the judgment seat.
Upon his return, Festus brings Paul before him.
And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem
stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against
Paul, which they could not prove.
While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the
Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I
offended any thing at all.
But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul,
and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these
things before me?
find that the accusations are the same as when Paul stood before
Felix. Many false
complaints, but no substance to them.
Nothing could be proved, and Paul states there in verse 8
that there was ďNeither against the law of the Jews, neither
against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended anything
at all.Ē Festus
at this point could have acquitted Paul (and should have), but
rather desires to do the Jews a pleasure and asks if Paul will go
back to Jerusalem to be tried.
The complaints were all grievous and unfounded, and the right
thing would have been to release Paul.
But that was not what Festus did.
Paul Appeals to Caesa
Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I
ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very
For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy
of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things
whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal
was clear in his thinking. He
knew to agree to return to Jerusalem would mean his death, so in
order to live, he appeals to Caesar.
This was all in the plan of God if you remember what God had
told Ananias concerning Paul when he was saved and sent forth as an
apostle unto the Gentiles.
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen
vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and
the children of Israel:
For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my
acknowledged that if he had done anything worthy of death, he was
willing to die. But if
not, he appealed unto Caesar.
Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council,
answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
really had no alternative than to send Paul on to Rome where he
would stand before Caesar.
We know God had intended for Paul to witness about Christ
before many kings which he certainly did do.
thought J. Vernon McGeeís comments on Paulís desire to go before
Caesar were very good.
ďThere are some people who think that Paul made a mistake
here, that he should never have appealed to Caesar.
They think he should simply have let his case rest with
Festus. Friend, donít
you see that Festus was going to use Paul for his own political
ends? Festus was going
to take Paul back to Jerusalem.
Perhaps Festus was receiving bribes from the Jews how had
come from Jerusalem. I
am reluctant to criticize Paul.
I donít think that he made a mistake here.
Paul was a Roman citizen and he exercised his rights as a
citizen, which was the normal and the right thing for him to do. Going back to Jerusalem would have surely meant death for
him. He doesnít
purposely make himself a martyr.
In fact, he did what he could to avoid martyrdom.
Friend, there are a people today who wear a hair shirtóand
God didnít give it to them. In
other words, they like to take the position of a martyr.
Iíve had a number of people who have told me that I should
rejoice that I have cancer because now I can suffer for Christ and
maybe die for Christ. Well, I can tell you, I donít feel that way about it.
I want to get rid of the cancer.
I want to live. I think a person is depressed spiritually and mentally if he
wants to put on a hair shirt and lie on a cold slab. Martin Luther tried that and he found it didnít accomplish
agree with Brother McGee that we should be more interested in living
for the Lord than to die for Him.
But if our lot in life is to die, we sure should accept it
and go forth willingly. Only
by Godís grace can we have the faith to do that.
Paul told the Corinthian church to do everything they did for
the glory of God.
1 Cor 10:31
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do
all to the glory of God.
1 Cor 10:32
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles,
nor to the church of God:
1 Cor 10:33
Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own
profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
one thing we know about Paul was he was a man who could deal with
whatever situation presented itself.
We donít read letters where he complains about the tough
times upon him, he just acknowledges what is happening and goes on
knowing that God knew all about it.
I think we would all be better Christians if we could reach
this high level of faith like Paul.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and
heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your
care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but
ye lacked opportunity.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every
where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be
hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto
Caesarea to salute Festus.
And when they had been there many days, Festus declared
Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in
bonds by Felix:
About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and
the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment
the case was taken out of the hands of the Sanhedrin and Festus,
Paul must not be sent on to Rome at the first opportunity.
Festus would send him and the papers concerning his case to
they had to go by sailing ship, it took planning and time to find
one to send Paul. Whey they were waiting for a ship, King Agrippa II came down
to visit the new governor with his sister Bernice. Festus decided to take this opportunity to law out the
case before King Agrippa and see what he had to say about it.
King Agrippa was the last King of the Jews and he had great
power and influence. He
had charge of all the Temple officers and also the power to appoint
the high priest. If
Festus could get his ruling on Paul, this would no doubt greatly
disarm any opposition the Jews had on him.
To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to
deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the
accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself
concerning the crime laid against him.
Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on
the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be
Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none
accusation of such things as I supposed:
But had certain questions against him of their own
superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed
to be alive.
And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked
him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these
But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of
Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to
relates the whole story about Paul to King Agrippa. He explains how the charges were not brought forth that he
expected, but seemed to all stem around the fact of one man named
Jesus whom that Paul said was still alive.
It seemed to him superstition was what it was all about. I believe this really touched King Agrippa, and we see
that he asks to hear Paul himself.
Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man
myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.
And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with
great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the
chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus'
commandment Paul was brought forth.
brings Paul out before both King Agrippa, his sister, and the chief
captains and principal men of the city.
John Calvin commented that perhaps King Agrippa thought he
might gain something from hearing what Paul had to say.
He certainly could have if he would have believed what Paul
speaks. But perhaps
this gathering was done to strengthen the believers in the churches.
Godís providence is so un-searchable and he accomplishes
things in ways and manners that we donít usually understand.
But for Paul to have such an audience and to speak with power
and authority from on high, it had to encourage the other believers.
It encourages me even to this day.
And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here
present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of
the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here,
crying that he ought not to live any longer.
But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of
death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have
determined to send him.
Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord.
Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before
thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have
somewhat to write.
For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not
withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
declares that the Jews had stated that Paul ought not to live.
But in his trial, Festus found nothing wrong in Paulís life
that was worthy of death. So
he comes before Agrippa that he might examine him and that Festus
could write his findings to Caesar.
It would not be reasonable to send forth a prisoner without a
clear definition of the crimes that he was accused.
The Roman law required that when a man was sent to Rome on
appeal, all the papers relating to the case should be sent, and all
the testimony that had been taken, and a clear statement made by the
one who sent him concerning the accusation.
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Random Acts of Kindness. Each
act spreads, and many will be blessed.