The Way - Day 128 (Acts 24)

Daily Reading:
Acts 24
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
We can see God's Faithfulness to Paul when Governor Felix allowed people to come and care for him while he was imprisoned. Share with the group a testimony of a time when God was faithful to you during the midst of a trial.
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 46:10
OPTION 2: Proverbs 18:10
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:5-6
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Acts 24 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Acts 24
Imprisoned inside the residence of the governor, Felix, Paul awaited his Jewish accusers to arrive so he could give his defense (23:31-35). The Jews had falsely accused Paul of ignoring Jewish law and traditions so they formed an angry crowd to basically kill him without a proper trial. The Roman commander, Lysias, became aware of the situation and rescued Paul from certain death, even though he did not know all the details (21:30-36). Paul gave a defense before the Sanhedrin (council of Jewish leaders) but they were divided amongst themselves over the doctrine of the resurrection (22:30-23:10). Paul was sent back to prison in Jerusalem, but a plot was formed between 40 Jews and the religious leaders to kill Paul (23:11-15); however, Lysias was privately informed about the conspiracy against Paul and sent him to a safe haven, away from the Jews, with Felix until a proper examining could take place (23:16-27).

After five days of being held captive in the residence of Felix the governor, the high priest (Ananias) arrived with the elders and Tertullus (an orator) to give "evidence to the governor against Paul" (24:1). At this point, no one had found Paul guilty of anything worthy of imprisonment or death (23:27-29), so the Jews were going to make their best case against him. Tertullus arrogantly stood before Felix accusing Paul of causing "dissension among all the Jews throughout all the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes" (24:2-5); furthermore, Tertullus said that Paul even attempted "to profane the temple" (24:6). Paul was being accused of rebellion, teaching false doctrine, and blasphemy against God. At the core of their accusations was their hatred for Christianity and Paul's message of salvation through Jesus Christ. His teachings were a threat to the Jews and they were willing say anything to bring severe judgment upon Paul. According to Roman law rebellion would have been the most serious crime, possibly resulting in death. Of course all of their claims were false.

Paul finally has a chance to speak and denies all of their charges (24:10-13) but also confesses that he worships God "believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets" (24:14). The biggest difference between Paul and his accusers was not necessarily their acceptance of the Old Testament but the identity of Jesus Christ. Was Jesus Christ the Messiah, as Paul believed, or was He not the Savior promised in the Old Testament (Genesis 3:15)? Paul continues to explain that he did not come to Jerusalem with a "mob nor with tumult [riot]" but only to bring an offering to Jerusalem (24:17-18). When Felix "heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way [Christianity]" he dismissed the proceedings until Lysias arrived (24:22-23).

After several days, Felix and his Jewish wife, Drusilla, "sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ" (24:24). This is an incredible opportunity! Paul begins to talk about "righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come" but Felix becomes fearful and says, "Go away for now; when I have convenient time I will call for you" (24:25). Paul message of righteousness had brought conviction upon Felix, whose life was anything but righteous. He obtained his current wife, Drusilla, by stealing her from her husband. This moment of conviction quickly passed and then Felix began secretly hoping that Paul would give him money to be released (24:26). Two years passed and Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus as governor, but Paul was left imprisoned (24:27).

Paul's encounter with Felix is an unfortunate story. Paul took the opportunity to share the truth about Jesus Christ with him, but Felix's life of sin meant more to him than a relationship with God. Felix quickly dismissed his fear of judgment and pushed aside the voice of truth. Although God offers hope and forgiveness to those who repent of sin and turn to Him in faith, that moment of salvation may be lost when a person rejects the witness of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11). When Paul spoke to the people of Corinth he passionately declared, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2b). There is no need to delay your faith in Christ. Because of His great love for mankind, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for sin and those who by faith embrace His sacrifice will receive eternal life (John 3:16).

Dear God, thank You for offering forgiveness and hope to sinners. May those who are confronted with their sin turn in repentance to You and find mercy.