James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
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.Acts 24:1-26:32
PAUL A PRISONER AT CAESAREA
There are three dignitaries of the Roman Empire before whom Paul now has a hearing Felix, Festus and Agrippa.
The circumstances in the first instance show the great importance the Jewish leaders attached to the matter, since the high priest himself journeyed to Caesarea as an accuser of Paul, bringing with him not only a number of the elders but a Roman lawyer (Acts 24:1). The latter’s indictment of Paul contains three counts, that of a political plotter, a religious heretic, and a violator of the temple (Acts 24:5-6). Paul denies the first, admits the second, and challenges evidence of the third (Acts 24:12-20). “More perfect knowledge of that way” (Acts 24:22), means that Felix knew much about Christ and Christianity though himself not a follower of the Nazarene.
Drusilla was a sister of Agrippa of whom the next chapter speaks, and a daughter of the Herod who martyred James (chap. 12). She was not a lawful wife of Felix, having deserted her own husband to live with him. Of course the plot to kill Paul when he should return to Jerusalem (Acts 25:3), was not known to Festus, which makes it the more remarkable that he decided to keep him in Caesarea, and shows the hand of God in the premises.
Agrippa was king of Chalcis, holding the title by the grace of the Roman Emperor, and Bernice was his sister. The hearing before them was made a great state occasion (Acts 25:23). Paul’s opening words are courteous and tactful (Acts 26:2-3). He reviews his past life as a Pharisee (Acts 26:4-11). He recounts once more his heavenly vision, his conversion and commission (Acts 26:12-18). The last verse is a remarkably condensed statement of the Gospel, referring to (1) humanity’s condition by nature, blinded, darkened and under the power of Satan; (2) the power of divine grace to give liberty and light to him including forgiveness, and an inheritance among the saints; and (3) the instrument of it all faith in Christ. Next, Paul speaks of his unjust treatment at the hands of the Jews, and the protection of God accorded him. The verdict follows in Acts 26:30-32.
1. Name the Roman dignitaries of this lesson.
2. Give the specifications against Paul.
3. What biographical data can you give about Drusilla?
4. How is the hand of God seen in the action of Festus?
5. Give an exegesis of Acts 25:18.
6. What was the verdict of Festus and Agrippa?