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[Lesson 20] Acts 24:1-25:12

The Second and Third Trial
Acts 24:1-25:12

“Simply wait upon Him. So doing we shall be directed, supplied, protected, corrected, and rewarded.” Vance Hayner

Waiting is hard work. Paul had no idea his trip to Jerusalem would lead to an ordeal that would last not days, not months, but years! Have you learned to wait well? Watch Paul throughout these years of captivity and injustice. He’ll show you how.

The Second and Third Trial
Acts 24:1-25:12

“Simply wait upon Him. So doing we shall be directed, supplied, protected, corrected, and rewarded.” Vance Hayner

Waiting is hard work. Paul had no idea his trip to Jerusalem would lead to an ordeal that would last not days, not months, but years! Have you learned to wait well? Watch Paul throughout these years of captivity and injustice. He’ll show you how.

Paul escaped a fierce hit squad in Jerusalem and was delivered to Caesarea, into the hands of Felix, the Roman Governor of Judea (52-58 AD). Caesarea was the headquarters of the Roman government in Palestine. Although Paul was temporarily out of danger, he still faced Felix's judgment. Felix was born a slave, but because his brother was a favorite of the emperor Nero, he was freed and later promoted. He was the first slave to become governor of a Roman province. A Roman historian said of Felix: "He exercised the prerogatives of a king with the spirit of a slave." Felix served eight years before he was recalled to Rome for mishandling riots, overusing violence, and other acts of incompetence and corruption. Paul could not rely on fair treatment from either the Jews or the Romans.

Read Acts Chapter 24

    1. A. Have you ever been involved in a trial? even as a witness? juror? If so, what were your impressions?

    B. In this courtroom scene, identify the defendant, the accusers, the prosecuting attorney and the judge. (24: 1)

    C. (Digging Deeper) In what way was this trial the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy concerning Paul in Acts 9:15 and 16?

    2. A. Compare the opening remarks of Tertullus (24:2-4) and Paul (24: 10). What was the prosecuting attorney's tactic to win the judge's favor?

    B. What does God think of this tactic? In your opinion, why? (Romans 16:17, 18; Jude 15, 16; Proverbs 26:28b) What results from this tactic?

    C. Do you sometimes use this tactic to gain the approval of others? If so, why is this unwise? What is the difference between flattery and genuine encouragement?

    3. A. What charges did Tertullus bring against Paul? (24:5, 6)

    B. What did Paul deny? (24:11-13) What did he admit? (24:14-18) What did Paul believe about the Scriptures and about the future? (24:14, 15)

    C. Paul continued to bring up the same subject during his defense. What was it? (23:6; 24:15, 20, 2 1) In your opinion, why the repetition?

    D. (Digging Deeper) What did Paul teach on this critical doctrine in I Corinthians 15:12-22?

    4. A. What was Felix's verdict? (24:22) What did this reveal about his character?

    B. What privileges did he allow Paul as a Roman citizen? (24:23) How long did he leave Paul in prison? (24:27)

    C. (Digging Deeper) Who do you think were the friends that were allowed to take care of Paul’s needs? (23:24, 21:17)

    D. What do you think Paul may have been doing during his imprisonment? Was this easy for a man like Paul? How do you utilize long periods of time "on a shelf”? Why do you think God allows these kinds of experiences in our lives?

    5. A. During his imprisonment, Paul had a number of opportunities to speak to Felix and his wife Drusilla. How did Felix react to Paul's teaching? (24:25)

    B. Why did Felix send for Paul frequently? What was Felix hoping? (24:26, 17) What does this tell you about his character?

    C. We don't know if Felix ever came to faith in Christ. What do you think? Examine his character carefully. What was one great flaw that may have resulted in his rejection of Christ? (24:22, 25) Do you know people today who react the same way?

Read Acts 25:1-12

    Two years later, Felix was recalled to Rome and replaced by Festus who, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, was much more prudent and honest than Felix.

    6. A. Where did Festus go immediately upon taking office? Who appeared before him there?

    B. What was their request? their plan? Why do you think their hatred had not dissipated? (25:1-3)

    C. Did Festus grant their request? What lengths were the Jews willing to go to get Paul? (25:4-7)

    7. A. Festus seems to have changed his mind in verse 9. What character trait does Festus have in common with Felix? What did Festus ask Paul?

    B. What was Paul's answer? What appeal did Paul make and why? (25:11)

    8. Throughout these trials, Paul was constantly accused falsely. How do you usually react when falsely accused? Has your desire to serve Christ ever been misunderstood by others? If so, when? What can we learn from Paul's responses?

    9. (Digging Deeper) Why couldn't the Jews destroy Paul no matter how desperately they tried? (Isaiah 14:27) What difference does this truth make in your life right now?

    10. Can you remember a season in your life characterized by prolonged delays and an uncertain future? What were your responses initially and then as the struggle continued? What did you learn? Are you enduring a time like that now? If so, how can the group pray for you?

    11. (Summit) Review what has happened to Paul since his return to Jerusalem in Acts 21:17. What enabled Paul to persevere?

    Some first century believers observing this period in Paul’s life may have believed God had abandoned him. But nowhere do we see Paul giving up. Paul had something in common with one of America’s greatest failures:

      In 1831 he failed in business.

      In 1832 he was defeated for the Legislature.

      In 1833 he again failed in business.

      In 1834 he was elected to the Legislature.

      In 1838 he was defeated for Speaker.

      In 1840 he was defeated for Elector.

      In 1843 he was defeated for Congress.

      In 1846 he was elected to Congress.

      In 1855 he was defeated for the Senate.

      In 1856 he was defeated for Vice President.

      In 1858 he was defeated for the Senate.

      In 1860 he was elected President of the United States.

      His name? Abraham Lincoln

Related Topics: Pneumatology (The Holy Spirit), Curriculum