Acts Chapter 24
Paul’s Defense before Felix:
(Read Acts 24:1-9)
Jews brought many false accusations against Paul before Felix, the governor of Judea. His governorship was marked by a period of unrest. Felix’s ruthless response alienated him from Jews. After Paul’s arrival in Caesarea, Ananias arrived there with Jewish elders and a prosecuting attorney by name Tertullus. He presented false charges against Paul before the governor. His flattering speech was not true. Paul was accused as a troublemaker constantly stirring riots among Jews everywhere. Paul was blamed as the ringleader of the sect of the Nazarene. They accused Paul of trying to profane the temple. Other Jews also joined in supporting their charges against Paul. This is the only place in the New Testament the followers of Jesus are called “Nazarene”. When Christians are falsely accused, they should trust the Lord and remember that there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). Ultimately our fate does not lie in the hands of human judges but in God. Christians should not fear when Christ's enemies falsely accuse them. Paul waited until the governor asked him to speak. In his response, Paul warned Jews of the consequences of rejecting Christ. Paul pointed out that he had been in Jerusalem only for twelve days and could not have started a riot. His accusers never found him arguing with anyone in the Temple. He worshiped God and believed in the law and the prophets. Paul maintains a clear conscience before God and men. Paul ended his defense by saying that “I am on trial before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead'' (Acts 24:21). We should not fear when Christ’s enemies falsely accuse us of sharing the gospel.
(Read Acts 24:22-27)
Paul had every right to request the dismissal of all the charges. He faced hatred of his accusers but never responded with hatred. He took every opportunity to share the gospel. When Paul’s defense was finished, Felix had more understanding of the Christian faith. He adjourned the hearing and ordered an officer to keep Paul in custody. A few days later Felix came back with his wife Drusilla who was Jewish. When Paul reasoned with them about righteousness, self-control and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened. He said to Paul “Go away for now, when it is convenient, I will call for you” (Acts 24:25). Felix hoped that Paul would bribe him, so he sent for him often and talked with him. After two years Felix was recalled to Rome by the emperor and Festus succeeded him. He left Paul in prison to show favor to Jews and for Festus to decide Paul's fate. We do not read that Felix ever found forgiveness by turning to God. Fear itself will not save anyone. Christians should not respond with hatred. Only love and compassion can draw sinners to Christ. "Love is the reflection of God’s mercy to the world in darkness". Paul believed that God is in total control of his life. God is able work all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Do not fear the enemies of the gospel, for God himself will set everything straight one day. The conviction of sin should lead us into repentance and faith in Christ to be saved.