Showing posts with label Book of Acts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book of Acts. Show all posts


Acts Chapter 23 & 24 - Accusations & Indecisions

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Oh dear! We left our last look at Acts in the middle of a chapter in the middle of an event!

What happened about the Murder Plot in Acts Chapter 23?

verses 16 - 22

Sometimes a little bit of help from our friends (or family) is a good thing.

Paul's nephew finds out about the plot against Paul and goes to the prison to tell Paul who then gets a centurion to take his nephew to the commander.  The commander listens to him and acts on the information he now has.

I think the following section shows that the commander trusted Paul by this stage and was worried because he now knew Paul was a Roman citizen and so did not want any harm to come to Paul while he was in his charge.

verses 23 - 35

23 And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; 24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 

One prisoner, yet the commander was taking this threat so seriously that he was going to involve the use of 470 soldiers.  This must have meant he considered Paul an important prisoner.

So Paul was hurried off to be sent to the governor Felix in Caesarea in the middle of the night.

Felix was sent a letter from the commander briefly explaining who this prisoner was and who were his accusers.

Nice for the commander to be able to get Paul away safely so that he was not responsible for his safety any longer and to avoid any incident in the area he was responsible for.  Prevention is always better than having to sort things out after they have got out of hand.  When people are angry it is best to diffuse a situation rather than fuel it but also better to actually deal properly with a situation so that things do not be left unresolved for a long period of time and anger fester on and on.

So had Paul escaped from the accusations the Jews were trying to bring against him?

No.  Clearly verse 35 tells us that Felix after reading the letter told Paul

“I will hear you when your accusers also have come.” And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.

But he did escape from being killed.

Straight away in the next chapter (chapter 24) we see from verse 1 that Annanias the High Priest, some elders and a man called Tertullus came 5 days later and spoke against Paul.

verses 2 - 9    give us the side of the Jews

Tertullus was the spokesperson and started (as many accusers do) with some sweet talking and complimenting the governor  -  trying to show a nice character so that the next thing he says might be accepted better.
Then he attacks the character of Paul and continues to attack the actions of the commander who is not there to defend himself.
The Jews of course just agreed with what he said.

verses 10 - 21    give us the side of Paul

Paul then has the opportunity to defend himself and knows that Felix has been in his position for some years and will be able to check on the information and find that Paul was only 12 days in Jerusalem and was not found to be inciting the people or acting badly in the Temple as had been claimed by Tertullus.

This then leads him to explaining some of what he believes in and that the Jews are angry with him because of his beliefs.

verses 22 - 23     give us the indecision by Felix

Felix doesn't seem to want to come down on one side or the other so says he will wait to hear from the commander and decides Paul should be under guard but not in prison.

Does this mean he thinks Paul is innocent of the charges but does not want to anger the Jews?
Or does he think is guilty but does not want to punish him?
Or can he just not make up his mind?
Certainly not the quality of a good leader.

verses 24 - 27     give us the real reason for this attitude by Felix

Felix it now appears seemed to want two things

  • to talk more to Paul about what he believed
  • to get a bribe from Paul
Throughout the next two years he keeps Paul in the same position never making a decision on his guilt or innocence with regard to the accusations.  He talks with Paul but never accepts his beliefs and never receives any bribes before being replaced by a new governor.  

People have always wanted what would benefit them and have had little regard for others.

The handing over of the position to a new person would probably have been a time to make that decision in Paul's favour as Felix would then be away from the area and have no headaches from the Jews and the new governor would not have to take the responsibility either.

Does this mean that Felix never becomes a believer in the future?

Interested to know more about the Book of Acts?
Then Try these commentaries

Or this Bible Study

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Acts Chapter 18 - Reactions of People.

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Having completed the 31 Day Blogging Challenge last month I have decided to continue blogging on through the book of Acts but not everyday, probably 2 times a week.

We finished on Day 31  Knowing God having finished chapter 17  noting that God looks for true worship and obedience and that Christianity is not based on works but on the death & resurrection of Jesus.

So on to Acts chapter 18 today.

verses 1 - 4

Paul has come to Corinth (from Athens) which is the first time we see it mentioned in Acts.
We are then introduced to a married couple called Aquila & Priscilla who were originally from Italy but had moved here having had to leave there homeland because they were Jews.

The first thing I thought about was that Paul found people he could easily become friends with because they had two things in common

  • They were Jews
  • They had the same occupation

How do we meet people and become friends?

Exactly the same way through our jobs or through coming from the same background.

When we went to live in America from 1992 - 1995 we first met people through Fred's job there and then through the church we attended.
Then later through our daughter's school and the neighbourhood we lived in.

When we went to live in Belgium from 2004 - 2010 things were different because we were not fluent Flemish or French speakers so a lot of the time we gravitated towards British and American people but in the end had friends from many nationalities due to going to an International Church.

We probably tend to forget that Paul may not have had any contacts in Corinth to go to and it is not easy to arrive anywhere not knowing anyone and settle there.

People always have to provide for themselves and can not always be dependant on others and that is just what Paul did here.  He worked at a skilled job during the week and then on the Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue with Jews and Greeks.

  1. based on logic or good sense.

    "a reasoned judgement"   or   "a reasoned argument"
  2. well expressed, well presented, considered, sensible, intelligent

Something to note here is that Paul did not have to devote all his time to preaching, teaching or indeed studying the scriptures to be able to share about Jesus.  So neither do we, instead we just have to be willing to give up of our weekends or free time from the daily work and provision we are responsible to make for ourselves and family.

It does not say in these few verses that Aquila & Priscilla were Christians but obviously they were friendly and hospitable to Paul and willing to share work with him.

verses 5 - 11

Silas & Timothy have now rejoined Paul after having been left in Berea in Macedonia in Day 30 The Power & Destruction of Envy 

This means they were not in Athens at all and also not with Paul when he met Aquila & Priscilla and worked with them.

We now see Paul being zealous in his proclaiming of Jesus as the Messiah to the Jews but this message was not well received and it specifically states that the Jews were against Paul and blasphemed.

 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 

Paul claims he will not bother to witness to the Jews again but only to the Gentiles.

He obviously took the blasphemy very seriously.

  1. the action or offence of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.

But even with this happening the next convert we see is the ruler of the synagogue (presumably a Jew) and his household.  This reminds us of other instances of families already covered in Day 19  It's Not About Us, It's All About God  with Cornelius and  Day 26  Believe in the Right Thing  with the Phillippian jailer.

Then we also see "many of the Corinthians" believing and being baptized and they were presumably Gentiles because they were Greeks.

So even when there was opposition to God's Word being preached and the truth of the Gospel being told; God was still working and bringing people to know Him.  

Even today God is still working and bringing people to know Him.

We need to remember this and believe that

Even today when there is opposition to God's Word being preached and the truth of the Gospel being told; God will still be working and bringing people to know Him.  

If you are interested in more of the posts in this series on The Book of Acts please click on the link below and you will find a list & link to all of the posts.

Interested to know more about the Book of Acts?
Then Try these commentaries

Or this Bible Study

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