Scripture, Acts 21:17-28:31
#NAME?#NAME?1. The speech before the Jewish mob in the temple
(Acts 22:1-29) in which Paul tells the Jews how he was changed from a persecutor to a believer in Christ. He relates also the story of his conversion.
2. The speech before the Jewish council (Acts 22:30; 23:1-10) in which he creates confusion by raising the question of the resurrection. But the provocation was great for the high-priest had commanded that Paul be smitten on the mouth when he began to speak.
3. The speech before Felix, the Roman governor
(Acts 24:10-22) in which he makes his defense against Jewish accusers, and affirms his belief in the new "Way" and in the resurrection.
4. The speech before Felix and Brasilia, his wife, (Acts 24:24-27). Paul, being sent for by Felix to tell him of his faith in Christ, reasons "of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come."
5. The speech before Festus the Roman governor
(Acts 25:7-11) in which Paul appeals to Caesar.
6. The speech before Festus, the Roman governor,
and King Agrippa and his wife, Bernice, (Acts 25:13; 26:1-32). Here Paul again relates the story of his conversion and shows that Jesus is the Christ.
7. The speech before the chief Jews in Rome (Acts
28:17-31) showing that Jesus is the Christ.
+The Writings.+ -- During the two years' imprisonment of Paul in Caesarea we have no account of any Epistles written by him. But when he arrives in Rome he again begins to indite those writings which have made his name so famous. From his prison in Rome he sent out four letters which have been called, "The Epistles of the First Imprisonment"; Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, and Philippians (See Chapter 9). For profound expositions of the Christian doctrines, lofty ethical teaching, and mellowness of feeling they stand unequalled.
+Time and Extent.+ -- Paul arrived in Jerusalem in 58 A.D. He was imprisoned two years in Caesarea, 58 to 60 A.D. The voyage to Rome was in the winter of 60 and 61 A D. He was imprisoned in Rome two years, 61 to 63 A.D. In extent the journey which Paul took from Caesarea to Rome was about 2,300 miles.
+The Historical Connections.+ -- Nero was Emperor of
Rome (since 54 A.D.). Felix was Procurator of Judea from 51 to 60 A.D., when he was succeeded by Festus. We fix the date of Paul's going to Rome by the fact that when Festus came in 60 A.D., he made his appeal to
PAUL AT JERUSALEM
+The Return+ to Jerusalem (Acts 21:17-23:23) was at the feast of Pentecost when it was crowded with strangers from all parts of the world. Paul had been warned not to come back to this city (Acts 21:10-14) and it might have been possible for him to have remained away, passing the last years of his life in high honor and peace as the Great Apostle and Head of the Gentile churches. But he seems to have felt it incumbent upon him to return to Jerusalem and testify for his faith (Acts 21:14), and to carry alms (Acts 24:17). Paul was now about sixty
years of age and for more than ten years had been
engaged in the most arduous missionary labors, enduring stonings, beatings, and contumelies of all kinds, for the sake of preaching Jesus Christ. More than twenty years had elapsed since his conversion; and before his
well-known three missionary journeys he had been actively engaged in the work which he loved so well. In his body he must have borne the marks of these incessant labors, but his spirit was as fresh and undaunted as ever.
Whatever awaited him in Jerusalem he was ready for it.
+The Meeting with James and the Elders of the
Church+ (Acts 21:17-25) seems to have been a pleasant one. Paul told his story of the wonders wrought in the Gentile world, and God was glorified, but there seems to have been a certain constraint upon the company. Paul was well known everywhere as an exponent of that liberty in Christ by which the Gentiles when they became
Christians were not obliged to become Jews and obey the laws of Moses. We find the elders, while freely admitting the binding nature of the decision of the Jerusalem Council upon this matter, advising him to show the
many thousands of Jews who believed and kept the law, that he himself still held to the observance of the law. Hence the urgency with which they requested him to
purify himself in the temple, with certain men who had a vow, so that the Jews might see that he was not a renegade. The consequences of this advice soon became evident.
+The Temple Riot and Paul's Imprisonment+ (Acts
21:26-39). -- When the days of purification for his
companions were almost completed some Jews of Asia saw him and at once raised a great tumult. It is a wonder that he was not seen and recognized earlier. Doubtless the Asian Jews had been restrained in their own cities from wreaking their hatred upon Paul to the full, by the strong arm of the Roman magistrate. At once a great outcry was raised and Paul would have fared badly if he had not been rescued by the Roman soldiers, to be
imprisoned by them.
+The Speech of Paul to the Rioters+ (Acts 21:40-22:23). -- He requested that he be permitted to speak to
this angry crowd of fanatic Jews, who were howling for his life. What would he say? What defense could he make? Listen to him! He is telling the story of his life and conversion, on the way to Damascus. He is glorifying Jesus and urging them to believe in Him. There is
not one word about the indignities that have been heaped upon himself. This personal testimony in this city where Paul had been the chief persecutor was wonderful. But as the Jews had demanded the life of Christ, when he was upon earth and testified to His mission, so now they demanded the life of Paul.
+Before the Jewish Council+ (Acts 22:24-23:10). -- Paul, rescued from the clutches of the mob, would have
been scourged by the Romans had he not declared himself a Roman. On the morrow, taken before the Sanhedrin, and seeing no hope of any justice being done him, he sets one party of it over against the other by declaring that he was a Pharisee and "of the hope of the resurrection of the dead I am called in question." So great was the dissension that arose over this matter that Paul was faring badly when he was rescued by the chief captain and his soldiers.
+Paul Comforted by God+ (Acts 23:10). -- Paul must
have been quite worn out with the tumults and mobs of the last two days. The encouragement of God speaking to him and telling him to be of good cheer, and that as he had testified of Him in Jerusalem,+Fourth Defense; before Festus and King Agrippa II.+ -- In Acts 25:13-27 we have an account of the visit of
Jewish King Agrippa II. to Festus and the statement of the latter in regard to the case of Paul. Festus is at a loss what to write about the pr+The Island of Melita to Rome+, or the adventures of Paul on the third ship (Acts 28:11-16). Three months were spent at Melita. Then Paul and the company
embarked on another Alexandrian grain ship for Puteoli, "eight miles southwest of Naples and the