Acts – Chapter 24
- Acts 24:1-9– False accusations against Paul are brought forward by the high priest and Tertullus
- Acts 24:10-21 – Paul refutes the accusation and confesses that he is a follower of the Way, that he believes in all things written in the Law and the Prophets, that he abides by them and that he is opposed because he believes in the resurrection of the dead
- Acts 24:22-24 – Felix knows about the Way and adjourns the proceedings until the commander comes to testify. Paul is kept and questioned about the faith in Christ
- Acts 24:25-26 – In hearing Paul speak, Felix becomes fearful ans sends Paul away. He also hopes to receive a bribe and keeps talking with Paul
- Acts 24:27 – After two years of captivity, Festus succeeds Felix and keeps Paul captive to please the Jews
Political Games Always Distort the Truth
Paul’s accusations by the religious leaders were not true but fabricated (Acts 24:6-9). This is similar to the way accusations were brought against Jesus. In the objective of winning the proceeding, the truth was not only distorted but completely forgotten by the accusers.
What I find interesting is that Paul’s defense was also not reflecting the truth. The real issue against him was his ministry and teachings to the Gentiles, not the issues covered in his defense. I can understand Paul not using this in the confrontation with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem (Acts 23:6), but I do not understand why he did not bring up the truth in the proceedings before Felix (Acts 24:10-21). I wonder what would have happened in that case. Felix did not have a good reputation but he was not a Jew.
In comparing this trial with Jesus’, we can see that even if Jesus did not cooperate with Pontius Pilate’s questioning (Mat 27:11-14, John 18:33-38), He did not deflect His response towards irrelevant issues. What I am saying is that Paul was caught in the politics of the situation while Jesus was not. Both results were not favorable to them but playing the political game did not work.
Not much is changed in politics today. The truth is always distorted to win the game, and the “popular thing” is chosen rather than the “right thing”.
Reasons for Felix’ Decision to Postpone Judgment
- He did not find reason to condemn Paul to death
- He did not want to displease the elders of the Jews
- He was afraid of the judgment to come (Acts 24:25)
- He was hoping to be given a bribe (Acts 24:26)
Paul’s Jail Time
Paul had to spend more than two year in prison and defending himself. He had many opportunities to witness about the Lord and to share the Gospel before high dignitaries. He was a well educated, skilled and anointed speaker; nevertheless he was not able to lead them to Christ. It is not surprising that we too are not always effective when we share the Gospel.
A Lesson for Reaching Out
Perhaps this is a lesson for us. God does not look at people’s importance, He does not discriminate according to their social status. What He looks at is their heart and so should we. We can scatter our seeds at every opportunity, but we should focus our efforts on those who respond to the Gospel. (Mat 10:11-14, Luke 10:5-10).
The key to our effectiveness is not in the importance of the people we reach out to, because we can spend years with any success, but in our ability to discern the direction from the Holy Spirit. He will show us those who are ready and whose heart is open. We should also discern the difference between those who are genuinely interested and those who want to engage only in an intellectual discussion. Intellectual discussions seldom lead to salvation.
- Have you ever been falsely accused? What was your reaction?
- What is your experience in reaching out with the Gospel?
- Who are the people you find more difficult to witness to?
Prayer of Faith
I thank you Father because you never leave nor forsake me. I am never alone. Your Holy Spirit is with me to comfort and guide me in all situations. If I just take the time to seek Him, He will give me His Words and His thoughts. He makes me an overcomer.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!
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