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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 38: October 20, 2009, Acts 24.1-27

Day 38: October 20,  Acts 24.1-27

My commentary is below:

Acts of the Apostles 24


24Five days later the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and an attorney, a certain Tertullus, and they reported their case against Paul to the governor. 2When Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: “Your Excellency, because of you we have long enjoyed peace, and reforms have been made for this people because of your foresight. 3We welcome this in every way and everywhere with utmost gratitude. 4But, to detain you no further, I beg you to hear us briefly with your customary graciousness. 5We have, in fact, found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6He even tried to profane the temple, and so we seized him. 8By examining him yourself you will be able to learn from him concerning everything of which we accuse him.” 9The Jews also joined in the charge by asserting that all this was true.

10When the governor motioned to him to speak, Paul replied: “I cheerfully make my defense, knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation. 11As you can find out, it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem. 12They did not find me disputing with anyone in the temple or stirring up a crowd either in the synagogues or throughout the city. 13Neither can they prove to you the charge that they now bring against me. 14But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our ancestors, believing everything laid down according to the law or written in the prophets. 15I have a hope in God—a hope that they themselves also accept—that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. 16Therefore I do my best always to have a clear conscience toward God and all people. 17Now after some years I came to bring alms to my nation and to offer sacrifices. 18While I was doing this, they found me in the temple, completing the rite of purification, without any crowd or disturbance. 19But there were some Jews from Asia—they ought to be here before you to make an accusation, if they have anything against me. 20Or let these men here tell what crime they had found when I stood before the council, 21unless it was this one sentence that I called out while standing before them, ‘It is about the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’”

22But Felix, who was rather well informed about the Way, adjourned the hearing with the comment, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” 23Then he ordered the centurion to keep him in custody, but to let him have some liberty and not to prevent any of his friends from taking care of his needs. 24Some days later when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak concerning faith in Christ Jesus. 25And as he discussed justice, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity, I will send for you.” 26At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul, and for that reason he used to send for him very often and converse with him. 27After two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and since he wanted to grant the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

Commentary:  Here is great irony, for two years Paul has been kept in custody.  (I wonder what happened to those men who swore they would neither eat or drink until Paul was dead!).  For two years, Felix would chat with Paul about "the Way" and virtues and religion.  But the real motivation was that he wanted Paul to offer him a bribe!  For whatever reason, Paul seems very content to be in Caesarea, have some liberties and be able to see his friends while being under a type of house arrest.  
 
Patience.  Things will unfold, Paul will get to Rome; but the orders of the day call for patience.  It may not be today or tomorrow.  So it is with us in the Christian faith.  We know that this is God's world, we know that Christ has claimed all that is as his own; yet we still deal with evil, death and sin.  Patience.  Patience.  It's not a virtue I claim as one of my own.
 
Have you every had to be patient and just let things unfold?  Is it frustrating to you or can you see God's hand in the waiting?

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