“Paul Before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa”
Paul is on trial before Felix, Festus (Roman officials), and Agrippa (Jewish King). But is not just Paul that’s on trial. It’s also the gospel. Paul uses it as an opportunity to defend himself but also to spread the gospel. This amounts to a great opportunity.
Paul before Felix
We are in Caesarea. First, Tertullus, Ananias, and the elders prosecute Paul (24:1-9), Paul presents his defense (24:10-21), and Felix responds (24:22-27).
Acts 24 1 Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul.
Tertullus is an orator, or may be technically a lawyer. Tertullus begins ….
ESV Acts 24:2 And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: “Since through you we enjoy much peace (unlike what Paul offers…ahem…), and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation, 3 in every way and everywhere we (Jews) accept this with all gratitude.
Tertullus begins by flattering the judge. These phrases seek Felix’s favor and with this tries to further his case against Paul. He’s saying that Felix is competent because he brought “peace”, he has enacted reforms, all this has grown out of his foresight. So within this flattery is also pressure to maintain the same direction, i.e., in Tertullus’ favor.
Tertullus will accuse Paul of being a troublemaker later which is a threat to that “peace and reform.”
Tertullus further gains the attention and appreciation of Felix by his promise of being brief…
4 Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us.
And indeed he is brief, almost too brief. He flatters so much but the charges against Paul are not proportionately larger than the flattery! So his conclusion is quite lame and lacking punch.
We have two charges against Paul, first verse five
5 For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
Paul is charged with having created dissension, which Felix would take seriously in light of other riots that have gone on in Judea (as Josephus notes, Wars of Jews 6.124–128), Felix’s district.
Now, the second charge…
6 He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law.
This charge is offensive to Jews really, but tied to the first charge, makes it serious in Felix’s eyes. Especially saying that he has brought “peace” to the Jews.
7 But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, 8 commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.”
We don’t have any proof for the accusations… There is no documentation or testimony, or witnesses. Paul will capitalize on this.
9 And the Jews also assented, maintaining that these things were so.
That’s all you got? “Meh, other Jews said this too.” Ok…not a lot to go on.
Felix doesn’t investigate himself, instead nods to Paul to present his case…
10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself,
Paul to begins, not with flattery, but with respect. Paul acknowledges that Felix has been a judge for many years. And based on this, Paul can gladly and cheerfully answer for himself. He knows of Felix’s experience and believes that he is perfectly qualified to make the right decision in this case.
Instead of being ambiguous like Tertullus, Paul details the events that happened 12 days before.
Paul first responds to the accusations…
11 because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city.
Here, he is addressing the charge that he is creating dissension/a riot. He he simply denies “disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd.”
He declares his innocence
13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me.
They have no proof!
He makes a confession
14 But this I confess to you, (oh…he’s going to admit some wrong doing…) that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.
This does not hurt his case. He does follow the “Way” which they referred to as a sect… But in reality, they have a lot in common. Paul worships the Jewish God and believes the Old Testament. They both have hope in God that there will be a resurrection of the dead.
He declares his innocence again
16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.
He responds to the accusations again
17 “Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation, 18 in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult.
Here he denies the charge of profaning the temple. In fact, he came to bring alms (the gift from the brethren to the poor in this region) and offerings. Plus, he was purified. He also denies any mob -like behavior. The fact that he has motive to be in the temple makes his case more clear and believable.
Paul reminds Felix that Tertullus et. al. have no witnesses
19 They [Asian Jews…v.18…] ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me. 20 Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council,
Paul points out their lack of proof. If they had proof, prosecution would bring Asian Jewish witnesses. Or at least verse 20 gain testimony from the high priest and the elders against Paul.
Paul clearly states the truth about this charge…
21 unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.’ ”
This is what really is at stake, the resurrection of the dead which unites pharisaical Judaism and Christianity, a plus for Paul’s defense.
It could be that at this point, Felix interrupts. Usually, we’d expect a summary but we don’t have that here.
22 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way (i.e., either by previous experience, or through his wife; OR simply because he has just now listened to Paul…), he adjourned the proceedings and said, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.”
So Felix postpones the judgment until the commander arrives and gives Paul some extra freedom…
23 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him. 24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
Felix is favorable toward Paul in these two ways: relaxed restrictions and a desire to hear about faith in Christ. Paul also discusses righteous living and future judgment with Felix…
25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness [justification? Righteous living?], self-control [fruit of the Spirit? Fasting?], and the judgment to come [2 Co. 5:10, judgment seat of Christ?],
Felix doesn’t respond favorably. These things are a little too close for comfort. Felix was known for lacking in righteousness. In Josephus, Tacitus, etc., we know that Felix was cruel, unjust toward the Jews. He was an adulterer. And now a future judgment to come…. “Um, no thanks, and I’m scared…”
v25 … Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”
And to prove Felix is lax in these areas, Luke reports that Felix was really seeking a bribe.
26 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him.
He’s probably wanting some of the money that Paul had brought in the collection for the people. And he’ll continue talking with Paul to get that money!
…v 26…Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.
Boy, talking to a preacher wanting money; he’s barking up the wrong tree!
Felix’s lack of judgment is continued…
27 But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.
Instead of determining the facts of Paul’s case like he said he would when the commander came, he instead leaves Paul in prison until his rule ends…for his own political gain.
Paul before Festus
Here, we see another plot to kill Paul thwarted (25:1-5), Paul’s trial (25:6-12), and Festus’ grand indecision (25:13-27).
Plot to kill Paul thwarted
the opposition quickly organizes charges against Paul and bring them before Festus…
Acts 25:1–2 1 Now when Festus had come to the province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2 Then the high priest (chief priests) and the chief men of the Jews informed him against Paul
So within three days coming into office (AD 59-60), Festus leaves Caesarea for Jerusalem. The opponents are the chief priests and other leaders and they tell Festus about Paul and their issue with him.
However, this time they don’t seek a trial, but merely an “opportunity.” verse 2…
and they petitioned him, 3 asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem—while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him.
Evidently they did not have any issue with presenting this opportunity to Festus. They fear their own safety or that they would be arrested for such a request, they likely wouldn’t have done it. Could be that the Jews have come to expect favors of this kind… “Can we ambush him as you summon him to Jerusalem? Pretty please!”
Festus’ reply gives us hope for some justice…
4 But Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was going there shortly. 5 “Therefore,” he said, “let those who have authority among you go down with me and accuse this man, to see if there is any fault in him.”
A fair trial coming? We’ll see…
Paul’s trial (25:6-12)
Acts 25:6–12 6 And when he had remained among them more than ten days (NASB, eight or 10 more days), he went down to Caesarea (where Festus decided to have the trial). And the next day, sitting on the judgment seat, he commanded Paul to be brought.
We don’t hear from the prosecution this time but just that …
7 When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove,
They surrounded Paul, closing in on him as it were, and they brought many and serious complaints against him, all unfounded, and they simply have no proof.
8 while he answered for himself, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”
Paul repeats his claims that he’s done nothing wrong. He has done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews, or against the temple. And now he says he has done nothing wrong against Caesar, who is now Nero… Which of course means that he has done nothing contrary to human law.
Festus replies by asking Paul if he wants to go to Jerusalem for the trial….
9 But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?”
Remember earlier Festus had rejected the Jews request for a favor to kill Paul. Now, he desires to gain favor with them by doing them a favor. He very well could have just now learned the importance of doing favors for the Jews for political gain. Thankfully, he didn’t learn that strategy before.
How does Paul respond if he wants to go to Jerusalem to be judged? Not with a yes or no, but he responds by again testifying to his innocence…
10 So Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know.
You can sense Paul’s impatience. Why should he go to Jerusalem for trial? It’s very clear to Paul in the proceedings that Paul has done nothing wrong and he believes that Festus, should “very well know.” This judgment seat is good enough!
11 For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
Paul continues to maintain his innocence. The willingness to die if convicted is to further emphasize his innocence. He doesn’t talk like a guilty man!
And plus, this additional mention of a trial in Jerusalem may further raise his suspicion of another plot. Festus was seeking to do the Jews a “favor” (charin). What favor might that be? Gaining favor with them? How…they could execute their plot on the way back to Jerusalem? Paul says not even Festus “could give me to them as a favor” (charisasthai).
So, the Greek here seems to give us some indication that at least Luke might think/know that Paul could be suspicious.
Appealing to Caesar…
We don’t know much about appealing to Caesar, but what we do know is that with this appeal Paul makes the proceedings against him to stop. He has invoked a higher authority. This means that Paul has to remain in Roman custody, not before the Sanhedrin. We don’t know if Paul thought he could have a more fair trial before Nero than Festus, but we do know that he desires to testify to the gospel before the Emperor.
Festus confers with his council… And sensing a difficult case (please the Jews or not?), They decide to rid themselves of it…
12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!”
Festus’ grand indecision (25:13-27)
this section continues the focus on Festus, even though Agrippa comes in the scene.
Let’s meet new people! …
Acts 25:13–27 13 And after some days King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus.
Agrippa here is Herod Agrippa II, son of Agrippa I mentioned in Acts 12. Bernice II was Agrippa the I’s daughter. So, King Agrippa and Bernice are siblings.
These are thoroughly Roman people paying respects to a new governor!
Festus, off the cuff, presents the issue to Agrippa…
14 When they had been there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king
but we see here is Festus involving Agrippa as well as Festus defending his actions in the case. Festus gives two speeches which reveal his hypocrisy. His speeches provide details but attempts to put himself in the best possible light in Agrippa’s eyes.
He says…: “There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix, 15 about whom the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, when I was in Jerusalem, asking for a judgment against him.
He conveniently leaves out the reference to the Jews asking for a favor, perhaps because he himself capitalizes on it.
We now get some more details…
16 To them I answered, ‘It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.’
Festus looked good here, so he shares this.
More self-serving …
17 Therefore when they had come together, without any delay, the next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought in. 18 When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed, 19 but had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. [just some disagreement about whether this guy was alive or not!]
Festus admits that these Jews brought nothing against him that was worthy of death. They were simply disagreements with in the Jewish religion. But we have to ask the question then, “why does not Festus acquit Paul?” Why does it get to the point where Paul has to appeal to Caesar?
Next, Festus tells an untruth, since Luke is correct.
20 And because I was uncertain of such questions, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters.
Festus did not suggest to send Paul to Jerusalem because they were more certain about such questions. He wanted to send Paul to Jerusalem to “do the Jews a favor.” (25:9) Festus is not righteous.
21 But when Paul appealed to be reserved for the decision of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I could send him to Caesar.” 22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I also would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he said, “you shall hear him.”
The interview day arrives…
23 So the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and had entered the auditorium with the commanders and the prominent men of the city
The brother and sister duo arrived with a great show of things and an …ahem…arresting entourage. 😉
pride comes before a fall… Festus continues to serve himself in his speech…
… at Festus’ command Paul was brought in. 24 And Festus said: “King Agrippa and all the men who are here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole assembly of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying out that he was not fit to live any longer.
Festus exaggerates the situation. Did the whole assembly of the Jews petition Festus? Both the ones in Jerusalem and in Caesarea? He paints this as if the entire race has formed a mob all over this one man.
But remember, the occurrence of the Jewish mob at the temple started before even Festus came to Jerusalem. It occurred under Felix. And it was only the high priests and the leading Jewish men who made appeals to him in Jerusalem, Acts 25:2-3 and Caesarea 25:6-7. He has clearly exaggerated this to make himself look important and the situation dire.
Festus now recounts his wonderful decree… [making him look good…]
25 But when I found that he had committed nothing deserving of death, and that he himself had appealed to Augustus, I decided to send him.
If Festus really does believe him he would act on the fact that Paul is not worthy of death, why does Paul appeal to Caesar?
But if Festus’ speeches are simply covering up something and Festus really is not a competent nor a just judge, we can understand Paul’s desire to escape and go to Caesar. Unless, of course, Paul is motivated by preaching the gospel the whole time.
Festus ends here with a “plea for help”…
26 I have nothing certain to write to my lord concerning him [writing refers to a letter sent to present results of previous interrogations and reasons for sending the prisoner to this court]. Therefore I have brought him out before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the examination has taken place I may have something to write. 27 For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not to specify the charges against him.”
And so Festus has nothing to write about. He can’t justify the charges and so he can’t pen the letter. Sending Paul to Rome relieves Festus of responsibility for making a decision but now he must specify the exact charges against Paul in a letter to the Emperor. So it looks like Festus wants to include Agrippa so as to share responsibility in case Rome decides that there are no real charges against Paul, but that it’s really are due to incompetence.
Luke then uses the letter, the story itself and the speeches to show the conflicting and hypocritical responses of the authorities to Paul and the gospel.
Paul before Agrippa Acts 26
We have Paul’s defense in verses 1-23, the exchange with Festus and Agrippa in 24-29, finally Paul’s innocence is declared in verses 30-32; nevertheless, he must be sent to Caesar.
Acts 26 1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.”
Luke 21:12 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.
So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself:
The speech contains Paul’s attempt to gain favor with Agrippa as well give his testimony.
2 “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, 3 especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.
Paul speaks as a Jew to a Jew. He recognizes Agrippa’s expert knowledge about Jewish customs.
Paul now addresses himself and his opponents.
4 “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. 5 They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
He speaks of his childhood and his open life as a Jew from that time. He lived as a Pharisee. In verse five he seems to imply that those accusing him are dishonest since they could all testify about how he used to live if they wanted to.
Now Paul is going to discuss the case itself, in verses 6-8. Paul asserts that the real issue is not the religious or political problems, that he disregarded Jewish customs, but the issue really is the resurrection.
6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers.
Paul doesn’t reject Jewish teaching when he believes in the resurrection, Paul argues here that God had promised this. “Agrippa, this promise was made to our fathers.” Identifying with his audience.
7 To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews.
In fact, our 12 tribes served the Lord in light of this promise. “It is this I’m accused of!”
8 Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?
What a penetrating question! “Why am I on trial for this, since it is a promise and since God is God, He can do this. Why am I even here?!”
Next Paul will give his testimony.
Paul tells the story of how he persecuted Christians (26:9-11), his conversion to Christianity through the vision (26:12-20), and describes how he preached the prophecies that the Christ must suffer and rise from the dead (26:21-23).
Paul in his testimony discusses himself, his activities, specific places, his past and present, and pictures his life as doing necessary things (persecution, “I must do many things contrary”; being a servant, v.16; he’s appointed by Christ, 16-17; he’s not disobedient to the vision verse 16 … see 1 Co. 9:16). Doing these things out of necessity are praiseworthy in light of the Jewish understanding and scriptural teaching of the sovereignty of God. One who submits to God is to be commended.
Paul also comments as to the reason for these actions…
Acts 26:18 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
Note that as he defends himself, he is also defending God’s actions. Because it is God who, through Jesus Christ, appointed Paul to be an apostle to the Gentiles.
His persecution of Christians
9 “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
He learned that when he was persecuting Christians he was persecuting Jesus.
10 This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.
This is new. That he cast his vote against those who were condemned to death.
11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
This is a new detail. Paul punished them in synagogues, trying to force them to blaspheme, which would be to either cursing or speaking ill of Christ. Probably through some sort of flogging.
Paul now recounts his conversion experience.
12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road…
We don’t have here is a reference to those letters (Acts 22:5).
The vision setting…
I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language,
We go from a light 9:3 to a great light 22:6 to a light brighter than the sun. That the voice spoke in the Hebrew language, Aramaic, is new and explains why Paul is spoken to as Saul, his Jewish name.
The vision itself…
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
The kicking against the goads is new. The goad is a sharp stick designed to move livestock along. The point is that Paul should not resist God who is guiding him toward his Christ.
This next part is the same…
15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
This is the most significant variation…
16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.
Ananias is missing! Here the commission is picture is coming directly to Paul. Paul is a chosen witness.
The Lord promises…
17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,
18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
you’re either obedient to Satan or God. If obedient to God and trust in Christ, you receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those sanctified.
19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.
Paul obeys the vision and he preaches repentance, turning to God, and doing works that reflect repentance.
Next, Paul preaches that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead and would be equally available for salvation for both Jew and Gentile people.
21 For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.
Paul mentions the charges against him here. It’s because of his obedience to the vision and his proclamation that the Jews tried to kill him.
Now this is the main issue at hand…
22 Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—23 that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
Paul’s preaching is simply fulfillment of the predictions of the prophets and Moses. Therefore, Paul cannot be accused of abandoning the true Jewish faith. You remember Paul had to obey this vision. He was doing what he thought was necessary. And so Christ here is also pictured as doing what was necessary, what was predicted of him.
Paul is credible in his testimony.
However, Festus now interrupts…
The exchange with Festus and Agrippa in 24-29,
24 Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”
Festus doesn’t believe that Paul is credible. He believes that he is insane!
25 But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. 26 For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.
Paul is speaking freely, or boldly, or frankly. He makes the point that Christianity is not a secret group. It’s not off in some corner; Christians are to engage people.
Paul now turns back to Agrippa..
27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”
Previously, Paul argued that Christianity is in keeping with the Old Testament. Now, Paul asking Agrippa if he believes the prophets.
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
Or “Are you trying to persuade me to become a Christian so easily?” see versions. The issue is how he said this. But it’s most likely that Agrippa is objecting to becoming a Christian in such a short amount time. There is debate in the ancient world if instantaneous conversion was possible.
29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”
Acts 26:29 And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”
Paul avoids the debate and appeals to Agrippa that he would become a Christian whether in short or long time. Paul doesn’t wish that others would have “these chains.”
Agrippa’s heard enough..
Paul’s innocence is declared in verses 30-32
30 When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them; 31 and when they had gone aside, they talked among themselves, saying, “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains.”
Just like Jesus, Paul has been declared innocent…by a Roman soldier (23:29; cf. Luke 23:47); then by Festus, a Roman governor (25:25; cf. Luke 23:4, 14, 22); and now, finally, by Herod (26:31; cf. Luke 23:15)
Agrippa whispers to Festus, as it were…
32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
Are we really to believe that they think this? They seemed intent on keeping him on…how could they have done that with the Jews so against the idea?
Sea Voyage to Rome (27-28)
This is the highly anticipated final unit of acts where Paul journeys to Rome. Luke is once again with Paul and his use of the first-person.
A large Point: Paul vindicated, gospel authenticated, gospel unhindered.
Chapter 27 Paul will go to Malta, and then at the beginning of chapter 28 Paul will be in Malta. And then he will go to Rome.
Since 19:21, Acts has been focused on Paul going to Rome.
Acts 19:21 21 When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”
Acts 23:11 11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
Acts 27, (Paul’s journey to Malta), contains an introduction (27:1–12), the story of the storm at sea (27:13–38), and the story of the shipwreck on Malta (27:39–44).
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