Today’s reading is: Acts 25-28
Acts Chapter Twenty-Five
- (Marcus Antonius) Felix was procurator of Palestine from 52-60AD. Porcius Festus was procurator of Palestine c.60-62AD.
- The chief priests and leading Jews immediately make Paul’s custody an issue for the new Procurator to address (Acts 25:1-5).
- When Festus provides Paul the opportunity to voluntarily submit to the Sanhedrin (Acts 25:6-9), Paul chose rather to appeal to Caesar—the highest judicial court in the Roman empire (Acts 25:10-12).
- The ius appellationis ad Caesarem or right of appeal to Caesar was a feature of Roman citizenship from the time of Augustus onward.
- The appellatio normally was exercised after a completed trial, with the condemned man contesting the lower court’s verdict.
- The provincial governor had some discretion, however, if it appeared the appellatio was frivolous or unwarranted (cf. Acts 25:12).
- Paul’s appeal is more properly a provocatio requesting a change of venue to Rome even prior to the completion of any trial.
- Before Paul could depart for Rome, Festus received a state visit from King Agrippa and his sister (lover) Bernice (Acts 25:13-27).
- Herod Agrippa II was the son of the Herod (Agrippa I) who had James killed (Acts 12:2). He was in favor with the Emperor Claudius, and often entreated him on behalf of the Jews.
- Festus reviewed Paul’s legal case with Agrippa (Acts 25:14-21), and was grateful for Agrippa’s assistance in filing his legal brief (vv.24-27).
- Agrippa was eager to hear the case for himself (Acts 25:22-23).
Acts Chapter Twenty-Six
- Chapter 26 consists of Paul’s witness before King Agrippa. The expert in both Roman Law and Mosaic Law, Agrippa was nearly convinced that Paul’s teaching was accurate (Acts 26:2-8).
- Paul expressed his delight that Agrippa’s expertise in Jewish customs and questions would make him an excellent judge (Acts 26:1-3).
- Paul bore witness to what he had hoped for as a Pharisee (Acts 26:4-8), what he had found as a persecutor (Acts 26:9-19), and what he had declared as an Apostle (Acts 26:20-23).
- Festus thought Paul was a lunatic, but Agrippa was definitely chewing on the issues (Acts 26:24-29).
- Agrippa, Bernice, & Festus were in agreement that the charges against Paul were unfounded, but his appellatio left them no opportunity for an acquittal (Acts 26:30-32).
Acts Chapter Twenty-Seven
- Paul’s transport to Rome was supervised by a Roman centurion named Julius (Acts 27:1).
- The Augustan Cohort was an auxiliary unit in the Roman army. Its soldiers were promised Roman citizenship upon completion of 25 years of service.
- There is no record of Julius’ salvation, but under principles of Divine Establishment, Julius serves to bless Paul throughout the journey.
- Paul, Luke, & Aristarchus made up the missionary team bound for Rome (Acts 27:2).
- Julius extended considerable leniency in Paul’s “arrest” and generously allowed visitation privileges in Sidon (Acts 27:3).
- Julius disregarded Paul’s travel advice, and pressed on through the bad weather (Acts 27:4-13).
- The greatest storm and shipwreck described in the Bible features the Apostle Paul’s continued faithfulness to receive Divine instructions and preach messages of hope (Acts 27:14-44).
Acts Chapter Twenty-Eight
- God’s plan in sending the storm placed Paul precisely where he needed to be—the island of Malta (Acts 28:1-10).
- Paul finally made it to Rome, where he was given a generous incarceration arrangement (Acts 28:11-16,30-31).
- Paul’s first public message in Rome was to the Jewish population there (Acts 28:17-24). Their mixed response resulted in Paul’s turning to the Gentiles (Acts 28:25-28).
- Paul’s two year “imprisonment” in Rome was the traditional time-frame for the Books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, & Philemon. Pastor Bob no longer accepts this time-frame, but this is where Ron Rhodes places these epistles in his chronological reading plan. TTB Day 345-348 will cover Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, Philippians.