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The Resurrection Offence

Acts 24:17-21

After Paul's opponents had tried to kill him in Jerusalem, the military took him into protective custody. Threats against his life continued and so he was moved north during the night, with a large military escort, to the fortress in Caeserea. That was where Governor Felix ruled the northern territories of Syria, including Tarsus in Cilicia - Paul's home town. Tarsus was a special Roman city; everyone born there was automatically a Roman citizen, giving Paul privileges including the protection of a fair trial.

Playing With The Truth

Acts 24:22-26

While Paul was held in the Roman fortress at Caesarea, Felix the Governor allowed Paul to have some liberty and for his friends to bring him what he needed. It was a safe place; Paul's accusers could not attack him there. It was God's provision to preserve Paul's life; also it was an opportunity for Felix to understand and respond to the gospel.

The Persistence of Evil

Acts 24:27-25:5

overnor Felix had played with the truth. He had kept Paul in prison at Caesarea for two years, often asking him about Jesus and the gospel, but with no intention of repenting or trusting Jesus (Acts 24:24-26).

Manipulation Versus Wisdom

Acts 25:6-12

Festus, the new Governor of Syria wanted to make a good impression on the religious leaders (Acts 25:1-5). Although he had Caesar's authority, he needed the support of Israel's leaders if he was to maintain peace in the country.

Safely Held In God's Plan

Acts 25:13-17

Paul had been imprisoned, although with the freedom to welcome personal visitors, for over two years. He was first tried by Governor Felix and then Governor Festus with the same outcome: they did not know what to do with Paul. He had committed no crime and should have been set free (Acts 26:32).

The Jesus Dilemma

Acts 25:18-22

Paul was a problem for the new Roman Governor, Festus. What should he do with the Christian? Paul's accusers had produced no evidence to support any criminal charge. But the apostle was deeply hated by the religious establishment: releasing him would probably lose the cooperation of the national leaders. Also, Paul had appealed to be tried before Caesar, but how could he be sent without a criminal charge?

Trying To Make An Impression

Acts 25:23-27

Naturally, human beings are proud in their hearts. Most of us have many reasons for being humbled and not daring to display our pride too much, but the trappings of high office can bring it to the surface. The new governor of Northern Israel and Syria, Festus, was being visited by King Herod Agrippa II. It was a diplomatic visit but also an opportunity to show Festus that he was under Herod's jurisdiction. Both men were trying to impress each other.

A Gospel Opportunity

Acts 26:1-3

Paul stood in the middle of a great hall in the fortress of Caesarea, surrounded by top military and civic dignitaries (Acts 25:23-24). King Herod Agrippa II had come to impress the new governor, Festus; and Festus wanted to impress his new boss.

Why should Anyone Think That God Cannot Raise The Dead

Acts 26:4-8

King Herod Agrippa II invited Paul to defend himself against his accusers: that was Paul's right under Roman law. Instead, Paul took the opportunity to give his testimony. He explained how he lived before he met Jesus, how he met Jesus and how that encounter changed his life. Today's verses start that narrative with his strict religious upbringing as a Pharisee.

Obsessed With Persecuting

Acts 26:9-11

Paul was not proud of his past, before meeting Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:9). In his persecution of the church, many believers suffered.