Acts Chapter 24


What follows is what we call today a "kangaroo court", with an angry mob (council), stirred up by the whisking away of their prisoner. Several things usually happen with this sort of trial:
  1. Expensive lawyers who orate well (v.1)
  2. A bit of flattery (v.2-4)
  3. False accusations (v. 5-6)
  4. Blame shift (v.7-8)
  5. Agreement/conspiracy (v.9)
  6. Distort the facts to suit your agenda and aims

(Malachi 2:9)
Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.

We have here the cause pleaded against Paul. The prosecutors brought with them a certain orator named Tertullus, a Roman, skilled in the Roman law and language, and therefore fittest to be employed in a cause before the Roman governor, and most likely to gain favour. The high priest, and elders, though they had their own hearts spiteful enough, did not think their own tongues sharp enough, and therefore retained Tertullus, who probably was noted for a satirical wit, to be of counsel for them; and, no doubt, they gave him a good fee, probably out of the treasury of the temple, which they had the command of, it being a cause wherein the church was concerned and which therefore must not be starved. Paul is set to the bar before Felix the governor: He was called forth, v. 2. Tertullus's business is, on the behalf of the prosecutors, to open the information against him, and he is a man that will say any thing for his fee; mercenary tongues will do so. No cause so unjust but can find advocates to plead it; and yet we hope many advocates are so just as not knowingly to patronise an unrighteous cause, but Tertullus was none of these: his speech (or at least an abstract of it, for it appears, by Tully's orations, that the Roman lawyers, on such occasions, used to make long harangues) is here reported, and it is made up of flattery and falsehood; it calls evil good, and good evil.
-Matthew Henry's Commentary of the Bible

(Acts 24:1)
And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.

  • The big guns are called in, complete with the speaker of their house
  • They did not inform the governor about Paul, but rather against Paul
(Acts 24:2)
And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence,

  • Having great quietness means, under Roman rule, being just like them, as pagans do not like theologians who tell them that the Old Testament forbids their behaviors. In a word, COMPROMISE
  • "By thy providence", meaning God had nothing to do with it, it was the governor, Felix, who did soooo much for the Jews!

(Acts 24:3)
We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.

  • In the original Greek, that means, "We need you to have Paul executed, so we are being nice and sweet here

Marcus Antonius Felix

  • Governor (procurator) of Judea, 52-58 A.D. under Claudius
  • Married Herod Agrippa's daughter and adopted Nero
  • May have had high Priest Jonathan assassinated
  • Imprisoned Paul, waiting on a bribe, 56-58 A.D.
  • Due to injustice against Jews, Nero recalled Felix in 60 A.D.
  • The world and most Christian theologians try to tell us about all of the good things Felix did, but Tacitus (Ann. xii. 54) tells us that Felix encouraged uprisings so he could split the heist with the bandits!
    Ruckman, Dr. Peter S., Acts Commentary (The Bible Believer's Commentary Series).BB Bookstore.

(Acts 24:4)
Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words.

  • "We do not want to bother you, can we just take Paul and kill him now? The trial will only take a minute of your precious time"

  1. Mildness; softness; as the clemency of the air.
  2. Mildness of temper; gentleness or lenity of disposition; disposition to treat with favor and kindness.
    I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. Acts 24.
  3. Mercy; disposition to treat with lenity, to forgive or to spare, as offenders; tenderness in punishing; opposed to severity, harshness, or rigor.

(Acts 24:5)
For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:

  • "Yeah, yer a terrific guy if I do say so myself, and I do, but this guy Paul? Phew! Bad news!"
  • A ringleader is in charge of a crime gang, so in their minds preaching the Gospel is a crime punishable by death (it was punished by death), so that make Paul the gang leader
  • Sedition, insurrection, rebellion. "Maybe even soon against you, O Great Felix our beloved Procurator!"

PEST'ILENT, a. [L. pestilens, from pestis, plague.]
  1. Producing the plague, or other malignant, contagious disease; noxious to health and life; as a pestilent air or climate.
  2. Mischievous; noxious to morals or society; destructive; in a general sense; as pestilent books.
  3. Troublesome; mischievous; making disturbance; corrupt; as a pestilent fellow. Acts 24.

SEDI''TION, n. [L. seditio.
The sense of this word is the contrary of that which is naturally deducible from sedo, or sedeo, denoting a rising or raging, rather than an appeasing. But to set is really to throw down, to drive, and sedition may be a setting or rushing together.] A factious commotion of the people, a tumultuous assembly of men rising in opposition to law or the administration of justice, and in disturbance of the public peace. Sedition is a rising or commotion of less extent than an insurrection, and both are less than rebellion; but some kinds of sedition, in Great Britain, amount to high treason. In general, sedition is a local or limited insurrection in opposition to civil authority, as mutiny is to military.

(Acts 24:6)
Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.

  • This is personal to them, so their motive is personal
  • "Their law" meant not to smite a person until found to be guilty of something! OOPS!
  • Ergo, since Tertullian would have known this, guess what? He was lying!
  • His sort of lying, done by defense attorneys often when defending the guilty they know are guilty but defend anyways, is cold, calculated, pre-planned, pre-canned, well prepared and done on purpose to get an end. The end game here is to murder Paul, not get off a client
(Acts 23:2-3)
And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?

(Acts 24:7)
But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,

  • They apparently broke their oath to starve or die of thirst when Paul was removed
  • "Out of our hands", meaning, "We had him in the cage, ready to kill, as though we ourselves held him personally"
(Acts 24:8)
Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him.

  • Not knowing that this would backfire and be a mistake, they suggest that Felix interrogate Paul
(Acts 24:9)
And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.

  • With children, this is called, "Follow the leader"
  • These are more of the same kind of people who always want Paul to be gone from their lives
(Acts 24:10)
Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:

  • It must be noted that Felix had to beckon Paul. as Paul sat quietly and politely according to court rules and listened fully to the charges before responding, never interrupting
  • Paul is not worried about the accusations, is without fear of death which could surely have come, but merely wants to explain the Gospel to Felix, and that gleefully
  • He acknowledges the court's jurisdiction
(Acts 24:11)
Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.

  • I was up there only nine days ago, meaning, "How could I do so much damage as they say in such a short amount of time?"
(Acts 24:12-13)
And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.

  • Innocent and they have no evidence, no proof
  • Not in the temple, not in the synagogue, not outside in public, not starting a riot.
(Acts 24:14)
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

  • Want to accuse me of being a follower of the Jewish Messiah? A Christian? A member of "that way"? A preacher of the LORD Jesus Christ and His Resurrection? ABSOLUTELY! Guilty as charged!
  • This is the God of the Old Testament Scriptures, the God of our fathers, the God of the Jews
  • All I did was believe. All they did was reject. Now they are after the believers
  • Because the publishers of the new versions are not interested in accuracy and, because an anti-Christ cannot unite with that word "heresy", it has been removed from the "modern versions", changed mostly to "a sect", which is much more innocuous. Yes, the unbelievers did call it a sect, but here, it is called a heresy, a much stronger word and there was no reason to alter the reading
(Acts 24:15)
And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

  • "Toward" here means aggressively, zealously, bravely
  • "Which they themselves also allow" would mean the zealous, misdirected Jews waiting, wanting to kill Paul
  • This resurrection is in Daniel
(Daniel 12:2)
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

(Matthew 25:46)
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

(Acts 24:16)
And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

  • The heart of a man who can have a clear conscience, no matter what, is rare, but comes through prayer and devotion to God's Word
  • The part about before God is through confession, repentance, and faith in the Blood of the Lamb
  • The part about before men is through self-control, temperance, confession, repentance, and faith in the Blood of the Lamb
(Acts 24:17)
Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.

  • Obeying the Law is one way to have a clear conscience before men, so as not to offend the Jews, not in order to keep the Law, which does nothing for us spiritually, positionally, in God's eyes
(Acts 24:18)
Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.

  • This would be Asia Minor today, Turkey, Galatian etc. and the places they went on the missionary journeys westward
  • They found him obeying a law of purification which Paul did not have to obey, so he would not offend and have a clear conscience
  • This riot he allegedly stirred up was caused by they themselves stirring up a mob, but blaming the mob on Paul
(Acts 24:19)
Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me.

  • "Where are mine accusers?"
  • "Anything at all against me, these accusers? Nothing?"
  • "No objections, counsel?" And so no, there were none
(Acts 24:20)
Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council,

  • If this was so blatant and open, public, then these here around Paul had their chance now to testify of the evil doings of Paul
  • While he was before the council
(Acts 24:21)
Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.

  • The Jews should have believed in the Resurrection of the dead, perhaps they did-JUST NOT FOR THE NAZARENE!
(Acts 24:22)
And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

  • Paul has now completely explained Christianity to Felix, giving him "perfect knowledge", as in "Everything you need to know about Christianity"
  • That said, he merely punts, passes the buck, and will let someone else discover the rest
  • Discovering "The rest" means finding out why Paul is there and being accused. Sure, there is the Resurrection, but why accuse the man of so much crime just because of a resurrection?
(Acts 24:23)
And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.

  • This is a perfect example of the favor of God, the Sovereignty of God in the affairs of men
  • Paul while being accused, while in a trial before he governor, has not whined, railed, complained, shouted, yelled, falsely accused back, nothing but a quiet, peaceful defense
  • This special treatment would not have been afforded any other prisoner
(Acts 24:24)
And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.

  • The presence of Priscilla was also a boon to Paul, she understanding through schooling, being raised as a Jewess, through the synagogue, visits to the temple, sermons from the priests, rabbis, perhaps study of the Scriptures herself
(Acts 24:25)
And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

  • This is the dealing with the sin of all mankind in the end-with the Righteous Judge, the self-control of the behavior of the believers walking with the LORD, and the Judgment under that Righteous Judge-all three of which were a threat, an exposure, a revealing of the doing of Felix and all who would hear. This is conviction of the heart of man upon hearing the truth
(Acts 24:26)
He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.

  • This practice of bribe giving and taking was common, and shows that most likely, Felix did not believe the Gospel Paul preached, was not convicted, was unchanged, was self-willed, looking to keep his money and power
  • When this did not happen, he sought it more and more often in a clandestine way, maybe not even directly asking, maybe so. In any case, Paul did not see a reason to pay the bribe, get free, and minister elsewhere. He had a ready-made ministry right there
(Acts 24:27)
But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

  • So think about that. For two years, regularly communing, hinting or asking for bribes, not getting any, this is the Paul who stood for truth, no matter what.
  • A little money or a lot, Paul could have called for it and gotten it, and his freedom. He chose the upper road, to stick it out, to work for God where he was, "to grow where he was planted"
Acts Chapter 25


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