-After five days in Caesarea Maritima, the high priest Ananias (who had struck Paul in the mouth and been rebuked, Acts 23:2-3), came with his attorney, Tertullus, to accuse Paul before the governor, Felix. Tetullus smooth talks the political figure to gain favor and a decisive advantage in their case against the Apostle. The Jews along with him joined in the accusations. Here we see the venom of these religious power players. *Application* Religious fervency doesn’t necessarily put one in the right. The truth is what we should all be after. These Jews were sincere, but sincerely wrong just as Paul had been at one point in his life. They had so hardened themselves to the truth of the gospel and its saving power that they missed the entire point of Paul’s message, which he states in his defense, “having a hope in God,” and “resurrection” of the soul (Acts 24:15). Paul’s message was not for destruction, but for life change into the abundant grace of God (2 Corinthians 5:17). We too can become so callous in our beliefs that we make no room for truth to invade our lives and change us to what God really wants us to be. Be an open vessel and pliable clay in the hands of the living God (Isaiah 64:8).
-Paul makes a successful defense and questions where his accusers from Asia were at because they should have been present for this trial, though they were not. He also appealed to his presentation before the Council, which did not incriminate him in any way as to the accusations which were being levied against him.
-Felix ends up postponing the case as a political favor to the Jews and waits for Lysias, the commander, to come down to the coast there in Caesarea Maritima. Felix gives Paul quite vast freedoms in his custody and allows his friends to minister to him. He listened to Paul often concerning faith in Christ Jesus, but never would accept Him and sought after a bribe. *Application* It is a tragic mistake to turn God away when He comes calling in your life. Felix was close to salvation by his hearing of the message, but he denied the power of it and is now suffering the consequences of that. We will too if we don’t accept the truth of Jesus Christ.
-Paul was left imprisoned for two years until Porcius Festus succeeded Felix. This was a season in Paul’s life where he was forced to slow down as the Lord willed it. He took this time to minister to those who would come to see him as he had opportunity and he no doubt wrote some of his letters to the churches that we now have as the New Testament. *Application* Make the most of the time that the Lord gives you no matter what the situation. As the old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”
Verse to Memorize: Acts 24:14