Acts 24:27-25:12 – April 15, 2007

April 8, 2007 at 7:35 pm Leave a comment

PAUL FACES FESTUS THE GOVERNOR

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) How long was Paul in prison in Acts 24:27 and why?

Discussion) It was for two years. Notice that here we see that there is a change in governorship between Felix and Festus. Since there is very few commentaries on why this change, I decided to look this information up on the internet. There is very little information about this, especially about Festus, except for what I found on a Roman Catholic site. Though I do not agree with some of the Roman Catholic teachings, they have a very good web site that tells a brief synopsis of all of their leaders from when Rome came into power until present day. We talked about both Felix and Festus here.

FELIX

A freed slave of Marc Antony‘s daughter Antonia, who rose to become the 10th Roman prefect of Judea. With his brother Pallas, Felix became a favorite of the emperor Claudius. Claudius made him governor of most of the former kingdom of Agrippa I [Judea, Samaria & Galilee], a position bolstered by his marriage to Agrippa’s sister, Drusilla. Faced with having to maintain Rome‘s dominance, Felix showed little sympathy for Jews of any rank. On the one hand, he conducted a sweeping campaign against bandits; on the other, he bribed bandits to murder the high priest who was responsible for his appointment [Jonathan bar Hanan]. He not only slaughtered the followers of a self-proclaimed prophet known as “the Egyptian”— Acts (21:27-38) dates the apostle Paul’s arrest soon after this event — he even arrested priests & sent them in chains to Rome. When Nero relieved Felix of his command, leading Jews charged Felix with misconduct. But he escaped imperial discipline since his brother, Pallas, was at the height of his power & influence. He perished in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius (79 CE).

FESTUS

Not much is known about the 11th Roman prefect of Judea other than that he had a short tenure. He was sent by Nero to replace Antonius Felix (ca. 60 CE) & moved quickly to crush the Jewish bands of sicarii who hoped to win freedom through political assassinations. He also supported Agrippa II in a dispute with the temple priests.

Festus’ sudden death (62 CE) left Judea temporarily without a Roman governor. In the interim before the arrival of his successor, Lucceius Albinus, the Sadducean high priest [Hanan II] arranged the execution of Jesus’ brother James along with others on charges of Torah violations

Q2) Study Acts 23:15 and Acts 25:3. Here we have a new governor, Festus – and you would suppose, new rules – and that the Jews would have a different plot! What same thing do the Jews ask of Festus, that they asked of Felix when he was governor, concerning Paul?

Discussion) The Jewish leaders here did the same plan that they tried when Felix was governor and that was one to ambush Paul and kill him when he was being lead by the guards.

Q3) Again, God preserves Paul out of the hands of his enemies now, and by using whom?

Discussion) God used the new governor Festus to thwart the plans of the enemies of Paul. Though Festus was new to being a governor it has been said in some commentaries that he was wise and not given into crookedness like the governor before him and the one after him. Also we see that God was using Festus to show His favor upon Paul.

Q4) In verse 27 and Acts 25:9 the Word says that Festus was willing to do the Jews a pleasure. What does this mean?

Clues) This was the trick question. It was Felix and Festus. Both of them wanted to do the Jews a pleasure.

Discussion) This means that the governors wanted to appease the Jews so they would not be riled up.

Q5) In verse 10, why did Paul say, I am standing to be tried, where I should be tried?

Discussion) Even though he had every right to demand his release, he was now saying that he should be tried as a Roman citizen. Twice he had been tried as a Jew and was not found guilty of any crimes. He knows that he is going to go to Rome, according to Acts 23:11, so he demands to be tried as a Roman citizen.

Q6) In verse 11 whom did Paul appeal to and why?

Discussion) Paul appealed to Caeser. He knows that the hands of Festus are tied to send Paul to the next highest court as soon as Paul appeals to Caeser. This was not to get Paul out of trouble but was his ticket to proclaim the kingdom of Jesus Christ to the highest authorities at Rome.

LIFE APPLICATION: Read Acts 23:11:

1) What did the Lord tell Paul that he would do?

Discussion) The Lord told Paul that he would safely be able to tell those in Rome the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

2) Is it coming to pass? If so, how?

Discussion) Yes it is coming to pass. Paul was on a one-way ticket to the head authorities in Rome.

3) How can this help our walk with the Lord?

Discussion) This is a promise to us that when the Lord starts something in us He will always finish it. Notice that in verse 27 of Acts 24 that Paul had spent two years in prison. Most Christians today would be declaring their freedom and their rights. Not Paul, though. He realized that the Lord was giving an opportunity for Felix to come to know Jesus as his personal Savior. The Lord is patient when wooing people to Himself. If it seems like we are going through a deep, dark time, we need to remember that God might be working on someone that will impact our lives in the future or using us to impact that person’s life.

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Entry filed under: Time in the Word.

Acts 24:14-26 – April 8, 2007 Acts 25:13-27 – April 22, 2007

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