Summary: Paul gives a defense before King Agrippa.
a. Last week, if you recall, we left the Apostle Paul there in Caesarea. He was there for some two years, being held by the Roman governor, Felix, because while finding nothing worthy of death or imprisonment, he wanted to get a bribe out of the early church.
b. The church did not pay the bribe that Felix wanted, and Paul was kept there, to be brought out every once in a while to speak to Felix, and during these times, Paul reasoned with Felix and his wife Drusilla about the Christian faith.
c. The most tragic thing about Felix and his wife is that they did not make a decision for Christ, or at least we are not told that. This is a very good example of people that know the truth, people that have heard the gospel, but yet refuse to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ.
d. As I read this weeks’ passage, I thought about how differently people in authority were viewed in the ancient Middle East, as compared to our government in the United States today. In the ancient Middle East, people were fearful of their leaders, and for good reason.
e. Government officials for the most part were the ultimate authority, and could set rules and laws as they chose to see fit. Remember last week, how I told you how Felix the governor came to be removed from his office? He got angry with the Jews, and he allowed the Syrians to go through town beating and plundering the Jews.
f. Now, when Caesar heard about this, he had Felix removed, and Felix was replaced by a man named Porcius Festus. But, Felix wasn’t thrown in jail or anything, his brother was a friend of Nero, so nothing else came of this.
g. But, before this time, Felix raped and plundered the people of Israel. He was one of the most corrupt, evil men ever to rule, and this went on for some 8 years, unnoticed.
h. This would all change though, in the year 60, as Felix was recalled to Rome, and his wife Drusilla went on a vacation and a shopping trip to the ancient city of Pompeii. It was there in Pompeii that the 19 year-old Drusilla died, as Mount Vesuvius erupted, and buried the town under dirt, ash, and lava.
i. The new governor would inherit responsibility for Paul, a citizen under house arrest there in Caesarea, and he wants to find out why Paul is imprisoned, and his meeting with Paul is what we are going to look at today, as we continue our study through Acts. We now have only 3 more chapters to go. So, three more Sundays until we move into the Book of Galatians, after a year and a month in Acts.
a. A Father was trying to teach his fifth-grade son the value of
tithes and offerings. The boy listened attentively, and then he went on to say, "I still don’t understand why you have to pay taxes."
b. To this the Father replied, "Because the Bible says we must give unto
Caesar what belongs to Caesar and unto God what belongs to
God." His son looked puzzled. "That’s what I’m trying to tell you,
Dad. Caesar died a long time ago."
c. The little boy was right Caesar died long ago, but what Caesar represented then, and still represents to us now is the ruling powers that be, or the government.
d. It’s been said that the only things sure in this life are death and taxes. Paul has been held prisoner now in Caesarea by the corrupt governor Felix for some two years at this point, and we will look at the events that unfold at the assumption of power by a man named Festus.
e. Paul will find in today’s study that his Roman citizenship pays even more dividends, as he will use his right of appeal to not only save his life, but also to get a free ride to Rome.
f. In today’s study, we will look at all of Acts 25. There’s a place to take notes in your bulletin, and I encourage each of you to do that. We have a lot of ground to cover this week, so, let’s dive right in. I feel like we’re at the end of a long race, just coming around the last turn, having been in this book for a year.
i. Paul makes his defense in front of a new ruler in our passage today, Porcius Festus, and we are introduced to King Agrippa II. We’ll get into more detail about each of them later.
ii. I’ve broken today’s passage into six parts – The Accusation of the Jews, The Answer by Festus, The Appeal of Paul, Agrippa’s Arrival, The Account of Festus, and last Assessing the Charges.