Our first reading for this week: Acts 24:1-16
v1 Ananias and some elders made the trek to Caesarea in order to influence proceedings.
- Tertullus, an orator, would have been eloquent in speech and would have a good chance of accomplishing what the Sanhedrin wanted – to see Paul put to death.
v2 Tertullus began his speech with flattery in order to try to manipulate proceedings.
v3 ‘Most noble’ – a word that speaks of power and is usually associated with the supremacy or sovereignty of G-d.
v4 Tertullus is suggesting to Felix that this trial needn’t take up a lot of his time (Probably wanting Felix to think that Paul was like a pesky fly – easily dealt with)
v5 He doesn’t even say Paul’s name but brushes him off as ‘this man’.
- The Roman’s hated riots or rebellions and often reacted harshly to them in order to squash them.
- The believers were known as part of the Nazarene sect as they believed in Yeshua who came from Nazareth. It was not apart from Judaism (like Christianity is today) but was a sect within it.
v7 In this verse Tertullus is having a little gripe against Rome as he felt the battalion had caused his colleagues to suffer unnecessarily.
v8 He is trying to set things up so that Paul will be condemned and ultimately put to death.
v9 The Jews =the Judean leaders. Under Rome they were allowed to rule and control the Jewish populace.
v10 Paul does not have a lawyer or the council of elders but he has the Holy Spirit.
- One of the positive things about the Roman empire was their court/system of justice. Paul acknowledged this.
- Paul rejoices in the fact that he is allowed to defend himself.
v11 Paul is not talking about something in the distant past but about something that is recent and therefore fresh in the memory of all concerned.
v13 Paul understands Roman law and that evidence needed to be produced if there were charges against someone.
v14 ‘They call a sect’- the Judeans called it heresy or inappropriate. They didn’t call it a different religion (they recognized it as part of Judaism) but they labelled it a cult/sect. They did not realize that Christianity was a fulfillment of prophetic Judaism.
v15 Resurrection is belief in a Kingdom to come – life on earth isn’t all there is. See Daniel 12:2
v16 When we live, by faith, in the hope of life after death we desire to live(and hopefully our behavior reflects this) in a way that is pleasing to G-d.