Acts 24:1-23, 26, 27
And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus…
We have illustrated here -
I. THE WEAPONS OF MALICE.
1. Persistent hatred. It was a long journey to Caesarea, and it was a most humiliating thing, to which they were utterly averse, for the high priest and the elders to appear before the Roman judge to get their countrymen into their own power; nevertheless the undying hatred, the animosity which did not diminish by time carried them through their distasteful work.
2. Disgusting flattery (vers. 2, 3).
3. Gross misrepresentation (ver. 5). Paul had caused no little dissension and conflict among his fellow-countrymen, but it was simple perversion of the truth to call him a "pestilent fellow," etc.
4. Offensive characterization (ver. 5). Paul was "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes;" but malice put his position into the most offensive form it could command.
5. Downright falsehood (ver. 6). He had not "gone about to profane the temple." These various falsities came from the lips of Tertullus, but they were owned and adopted by the Jews (ver. 9). To such baseness malice will stoop to compass its ends; to such iniquity professed piety will condescend when inflamed by the unholy heats of bigotry.
II. THE DEFENSE OF INNOCENCE.
1. Courtesy (ver. 10). We may not flatter, but we must be courteous and conciliatory (1 Peter 3:8; 1 Samuel 25:23-33).
2. Straightforward statement (vers. 11, 14-17). There is no better way by which to prove our integrity than telling the whole truth from beginning to end, with perfect frankness.
3. Fearless denial (vers. 12, 13, 18). We should solemnly deny, in calm and dignified language, that which is falsely alleged against us; in quietness and composure rather than in vehemence and loud protestation, is our strength.
4. Righteous challenge (vers. 19, 20). We may do well to face our accusers with bold and righteous challenge (John 8:46).
III. THE PITIFULNESS OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS IN POWER. Felix
(1) gave an unrighteous decision, for the case had broken down, and Paul should have been released,
(2) hankered after a bribe (ver. 26); was willing to sell justice for money;
(3) left his position with an act of selfish injustice (ver. 27). He presents a pitiful picture both as a public administrator and as a private individual. How little to be envied are those who climb to high stations! How contemptible is power when it is perverted to mean and selfish ends! How admirable, how enviable in comparison, is innocence in insignificance or even in bonds! - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.