Chapter Twenty-Four — Part One: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 02/26/2023Foundation Scriptures:
1. Flattery and Falsehoods.
a. Acts 24:1 NKJV — 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.
b. Paul is a prisoner of Felix at Caesarea, sent there by the Roman commander in Jerusalem, for his own protection and also for the case against him to be decided there.
c. Paul is surrounded by unrighteous and unscrupulous men—Felix, the governor, Ananias the high priest, and now Tertullus, a Roman orator, or advocate, whose name means “triple-hardened.”
d. The Jews employed Tertullus, who was skilled in Roman law and language, to represent them before Felix—and most likely paid him out of the temple treasury.
e. When someone is lying, they may be unsure of their ability to effectively hide their true motivation, and so they hide behind a third party and use them to present their case.
f. By going through Tertullus, they were no doubt hoping that Felix would look more favorably upon them and believe their accusations.
g. Acts 24:2-3 KJV — And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence, 3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
h. Providence (Greek pronoia) — forethought; providence; provision; to make provision for a thing; providential care or supply.
i. An unjust advocate will say anything for the fee and here we see that Tertullus’ oration was made up of flattery and falsehoods—making Felix out to be a noble benefactor, though everyone knew well that he was a exceedingly wicked and unjust ruler.
j. The only things Felix did that could be interpreted in a good light, were that he suppressed some gangs of robbers, shut down the Egyptian so-called prophet and quelled civil strife in Caesarea between Jews and Syrians.
k. The Jews greatly despised their Roman rulers but were so full of malice toward Paul that they feigned respect, and even admiration, for Felix since he was the judge of this case.
l. If you already know that someone is an evil person, and instead of holding them accountable you use them to do your dirty work, that makes you also an evil person.
m. Acts 24:4 AMPC — But not to hinder or detain you too long, I beg you in your clemency and courtesy and kindness to grant us a brief and concise hearing.
n. Before his flattery could descend too much lower, he changed course and began the accusation of Paul; but not before he appealed to Felix’s sense of fairness (debatable as that was).
o. Clemency (Greek epieikia) — courtesy; kindness; mildness; gentleness; fairness.
p. How impertinent they were, to ask a judge for fairness, knowing the charges they brought were utterly false and baseless!
a. Acts 24:5 NKJV — 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.
b. Paul was a blessing, a proclaimer of the Gospel that set men free, everywhere—yet they called him, personally, a pestilence and a plague.
c. May we all yet be a pestilence and a plague to the devil and to religious demons by preaching the Truth and setting people free!
d. Paul was a peacemaker, yet they accused him of being divisive.
e. Just as Nero burned Rome and blamed it on the Christians, so the Jews caused dissension and blamed it on Paul.
f. They accused him of being a ringleader of heresy, and a creator of sedition and dissension among the Jews.
g. Ringleader (Greek prōtostatēs) – one standing first in the ranks, or who stands in the front rank; a captain; a leader; a chief; a standard-bearer.
h. Paul was indeed the “ringleader” of the propagation of the Gospel, but he was not the leader of a sect, neither did he draw people off after himself.
i. He only pointed people to the Father, through Jesus Christ.
j. The Jews used the term “the Nazarenes,” refusing to refer to them as Christians, since that name was derived from the Greek word for the Messiah.
3. More Lies.
a. Acts 24:6 NKJV — He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law.
b. The Jews accused Paul of defiling the Jewish temple.
c. This was the most serious charge, since the Romans permitted the Jews to put anyone to death who profaned their temple.
d. If they were successful with this charge, it would’ve been enough to condemn Paul to death, but they could not prove it.
e. They claimed that their intentions were to judge Paul fairly, according to their law, when all along, their intention was to murder him.
f. Acts 24:7-8a NKJV — But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, 8 commanding his accusers to come to you.
g. The Jews accused the chief captain, Lysias, of wrongdoing, as well as Paul.
h. They were angry because their evil purpose was thwarted.
i. They accused Lysias of violently taking Paul from them, when he used no more force than what was necessary.
j. Acts 24:8b NKJV — By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.”
k. Here, the Jews overplayed their hand, because the trial, and their revenge, would have to be postponed while they waited for Lysias to come and testify.
l. Also, Lysias had many soldiers who could vouch for him, and spoil their case.
m. Acts 24:9 NKJV — And the Jews also assented, maintaining that these things were so.
n. All the Jews there vouched for those things that Tertullus alleged on their behalf.