Acts 25

Acts 25: Paul Appeals unto Caesar

When Felix is replaced by Festus, Paul’s Jewish accusers decide to re-try the case against Paul. Paul asks Festus to appeal unto Caesar; “…I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.” (Acts 25:10) Festus explains the case involving Paul to the visiting King Agrippa. Shortly after, the trial begins, and Festus makes an opening speech explaining the situation of the Jews desiring his death and Festus explains that the Jews made warrantless claims and false accusations with no evidence against Paul. Festus explained that this was contrary to Roman Law, explaining; “…It is not the manners of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.” (Acts 25:16) Festus desired that King Agrippa hear from Paul himself, and he agrees.

Acts 23

Acts 23: 40 Jews try to kill Paul

                Paul goes before the Sanhedrin  and opens up by saying; “…Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” (Acts 23:1) and before Paul could finish, Ananias the high priest commanded the guards standing next to Paul to smack him across the face for his words. Paul quickly responds; “…God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?” (Acts 23:3)

The Sanhedrin’s reaction to Paul statement is divided between Pharisees (who do believe in the resurrection of the dead) and the Saducees (who do not). It gets so bad at one point that Paul has to be rescued by the Roman commander, so he doesn’t get pulled apart from the mess. Paul is told in a dream that he will go to Rome and testify there. Forty Jews vow not to eat or drink until they have accomplished in killing Paul. Paul is warned by his nephew, who learns of the plot. Paul escapes to Caesarea  with a full military escort and a letter referring his case to the governor of the providence. The letter says that Paul is not worthy of death. Paul awaits trial in Caesarea.

Acts 22

Acts 22: Conversion of Paul

                Paul delivers an address in Jerusalem after he was bound and ready to be sent to Prison. This carries over from Acts 21. Paul gives an autobiography,  telling of his persecution of Christians and his later conversion;

“And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.” (Acts 22:6-15)

The crowd riots in response to Paul’s message. The commander orders that Paul be interrogated under scourging, but revokes the order when Paul reveals his Roman citizenship. The Roman commander arranges a hearing of the charges against Paul before the Sanhedrin.

Acts 21

Acts 21: Paul goes to Jerusalem

Paul sails to Syria where he is warned by disciples in Tyre not to go to Jerusalem. In Caesarea, the prophet Agabus binds his hands and feet with Paul’s belt and tells him the Jews in Jerusalem will bind Paul in the same way. Paul explains that he is willing to die in the name of Jesus Christ. Paul goes to Jerusalem anyways, saying: “… The will of the Lord be done.” (Acts 21:14) As a show of goodwill to the Jewish community there, Paul sponsors four Jews who are taking the Nazirite vow. Even with this show of goodwill, the Jews from Asia stir a mob against Paul. Roman soldiers rescue Paul, and he asks to speak to the crowd, and the soldiers agree. Paul addresses the crowd in Hebrew.