Acts 24

Acts 24 … Here we have a legal trial of Paul before Governor Felix, the “procurator” of Judea (a procurator is a local administrator for an imperial authority). Felix lived (as did Pontius Pilate) in a lovely seaside palace in Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast (the ruins are still there and it really was a lovely seaside palace). It was there that Paul was placed in house arrest for two years. Felix himself was a crooked politician who solicited bribes and exacted punishment if he didn’t get his way. He’d been in Judea for some time and knew his way around with the Jewish religious rulers. Tertullus (v.2) is a slick lawyer who represents the high priest from Jerusalem. You can tell how slick he is as he tells this crooked Roman politician (Acts 24:2-4) what a wonderful leader he’s been. Most of the chapter concerns Paul’s defense before Felix and the trial concludes without any finding of guilt, in fact, there’s no violation whatever of Roman law, so there’s nothing to charge him with.

It’s interesting that Felix engaged Paul (after the trial) in religious discussions, but seems bent on enticing Paul to pay a bribe, which Paul will not do … and as a result, Felix leaves Paul languishing in prison for two years. Twice in this passage you encounter the phrase “the Way” (v.9 and 23). The term appears only in Acts, where it appears five times. It apparently was a term that simply means Christianity, or Christ Followers. It is a great term, but apparently didn’t last long as a reference to Christians.

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