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Studies in ACTS

"Acts041 - Acts 24, 25, 26 Felix, Festus, and Agrippa"

From: "Pastor Buddy Martin" <>
Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2003 12:48:07 -0600
Subject: [HF] Acts041 - Acts24, 25, 26 Felix, Festus, and Agrippa


This study will differ from our prior studies in Acts, in that we will
actually cover three chapters in one setting. The study deals with Paul's
appearances before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa, before he begins his
journey to Rome. While there are no questions with the study, you can be
certain that it contains some very interesting insights.

This is Acts041 - Acts 24, 25, 26 Felix, Festus, and Agrippa.

Acts 24:1-23: Paul before Felix.

The high priest Ananias arrives in Caesarea with a contingent of
elders and an attorney named Tertullus. They intend to bring
charges against Paul. But what they really want is for Paul to be
returned to Jerusalem. There remains a death plot against him.

Paul is summoned and Tertullus begins with accusations. When he
is finished, Paul is given permission to speak for himself. The
apostle relates the events that led to the moment. Felix then
decides to wait for Lysias the commander to come down to give his
testimony. Once again Paul is remitted to custody, but given
freedom for visits from friends and for any other ministry needs he
may require.

Acts 24:24-27: Paul before Felix and his wife Drusilla.

Felix is deeply interested in this movement called 'the Way.' Some
days later Felix brings his Jewish wife, wishing to hear more from
Paul. As Paul discusses righteousness, self-control, and judgment
to come, Felix becomes frightened, and says to Paul, "Go away for
the present, and when I find time I will summon you." And so Paul
continues as he was for two more years. But Felix sends for him
often to hear more about the Way. At the end of the two years Felix
is replaced by Festus.

Acts 25:1-6 - Paul before Festus.

Before Festus meets with Paul, he makes a trip to Jerusalem,
where the chief priest and other leading men bring charges against
Paul. They want Paul brought to Jerusalem. Festus refuses this
request, but does allow certain of the leaders to accompany him
back to Caesarea for a hearing. Paul is ordered to be brought forth. This
time charges are added to charges.

Vs7: "After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from
Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges
against him which they could not prove."

.... While being unable to prove corruption against Paul, they only
showed their own hearts. These were the kind that Paul warned
about in his letter to the Philippians; "Beware of the dogs, beware of the
evil workers, beware of the false circumcision." (When we return to our
Hebraic studies, I will share more in the deceit that came from this group
in what was later called Talmudic Judaism.)

Vss8-9: Synopsis - Paul begins his defense, but Festus wishes to
placate the Jews, so he says to Paul, "Are you willing to go up to
Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these charges?" And here is
where we see Paul play his ultimate card.

Vs10-11: "But Paul said, 'I am standing before Caesar's tribunal,
where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you
also very well know. If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed
anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those
things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to
them. I appeal to Caesar.'"

.... When Paul said, "No one can hand me over to them. I appeal to
Caesar," there was no more argument to be had. His Jewish
accusers would have not more say in the matter.

Note: The law of appeal to Caesar was very sacred to the Romans.
Under Julian law any magistrate, or any other with Roman authority,
who put to death, or tortured, a Roman citizen who had made an
appeal to Caesar, could themselves be condemned. It could even
result in a death sentence. (This appeal was generally used as a
final need. Most citizens would not want to appear before the
emperor of Rome. But Paul must go to Rome.)

Vs12: "Then when Festus had conferred with his council, he
answered, 'You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go.'"

.... The council agreed that Paul should be sent to Rome. But this
also relieved Festus of any obligation to the Jews, which he was
really needed in beginning his new administration.

Acts 25:13-22 Festus lays Paul's case before Agrippa.

King Agrippa and Bernice come to Caesarea to give their respects
to Festus in his new office. Festus remains deeply disturbed over
Paul, so he begins laying out the case before Agrippa. All this
intrigues Agrippa, so he wishes to hear the apostle for himself.
Festus says, "Tomorrow you shall hear him."

Acts 25:23-27 thru Acts 26: Paul before Agrippa

Here is some of the most marvelous tellings of Paul's background
and of the gospel. (I suggest that the reader review these

Acts25:27: "For it seems absurd to me in sending a prisoner, not to
indicate also the charges against him."

.... This is how Festus finishes his presenting of Paul to Agrippa.
What an awesome moment. The auditorium is filled. Agrippa's
entourage of commanders and prominent men of the city overflow
the place where they are. And what an audience Paul has for this
moment of presenting the gospel.

Acts 26: Synopsis - Paul is given permission to speak, and speak he
did. He stretches out his hand, first giving honor to Agrippa, and
then he gives his personal testimony from his youth up to the
moment of His meeting Jesus Christ, and then completes what he
has to say with the present proceedings. Does he affect his
audience? Listen:

Vs24: "While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a
loud voice, 'Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is
driving you mad.'"

.... There is no question that Paul was a man of great learning, and a man
well suited for his call to the apostleship. What is happening here is
that conviction has settled over Festus. But keep in mind that Agrippa
gave Paul the right to speak freely. Can you imagine the tense moment. The
Holy Spirit has laid the case open before their eyes. Also keep in mind
that King Agrippa's father, Herod, had tried to destroy the Christian
faith early on. If you will take time to reach through this portion, you
will find Paul directing everything towards one man, King Agrippa.

Notice how Paul will not let Agrippa escape attention. He speaks
directly to the king.

Vs26,27: "For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to
him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these
things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.
'King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do.'"

.... Paul leaves no opportunity to go amiss. The movement of Christ
has made its impact everywhere. King Agrippa is well acquainted
with the prophetic teachings on Messiah. What is Agrippa's

Vs28: "Agrippa replied to Paul, 'In a short time you will persuade me to
become a Christian.'"

.... That Agrippa was under deep conviction goes without saying. A
close rendering of what he said would be, "You have nearly
persuaded me to embrace Christianity." Note again Paul's boldness.

Vs29: "And Paul said, "I would wish to God, that whether in a short
or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might
become such as I am, except for these chains."

.... It is here that Agrippa and the council stands up. They are
completely overwhelmed with the gospel. But they do what men
often do. Rather than make a response, they take a side trip. In this case
they all agree on the innocence of the apostle. But for the moment,
perhaps that is as it should be. After all, the gospel doesn't leave when
the messenger leaves. It remains to continue its convicting work long
afterward. It could well be that some of these peoples did turn to the
Lord Jesus.

What is the outcome for Agrippa?

Vs32: "And Agrippa said to Festus, 'This man might have been set
free if he had not appealed to Caesar.'"

.... There you have it. Paul's testimony in Israel is finished. The
rulers have heard the gospel. Where else could he speak? Both the
Jewish authorities and the Roman rulers of the land have heard.
And so now Paul must make his way to Rome.

The study will remain open for awhile. Please feel free to respond,
ask questions, or otherwise offer your thoughts.

Blessings in Christ,

Lawrence E. (Buddy) Martin, HF Host

"See to it that no one comes short of the grace
of God; that no root of bitterness springing up
causes trouble, and by it many be defiled." (Heb12:15)

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