Luke’s preface to his Gospel shows that he intended his Gospel narrative to be an apologetic (Luke 1:4) for Most Excellent Theophilus (Luke 1:3). Thus, Luke identifies him as an official of some rank, for he quotes several people addressing the Roman governors, Felix and Festus, in very same manner (see Acts 23:26; 24:3; 26:25). While most scholars conclude that Theophilus must have been an official of some kind, they conclude he was a new gentile convert to Christianity, but this doesn’t seem plausible when one considers the context of Luke’s uncluttered narrative. Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: Festus
Below is a chart of Paul’s journeys from the time of the Jerusalem Council and afterward until the close of Luke’s thesis. I have noted every year based upon what seems to be Paul’s overall plan of spending three years doing the work of God in any given area. Read the rest of this entry »
Luke records Paul’s conversion three times in Acts, first in chapter 9 where he simply narrates the event, and secondly, through Paul’s testimony in chapter 22 before the Jews after they tried to kill him, and finally before Festus and King Agrippa in chapter 26. Each have similarities, but there are also differences in the accounts, and some have tried to make a point that the differences prove either the event never occurred, or that one cannot know for certain what happened. Is this true? The simple answer is, no; there are reasons for the differences in the accounts, just as there are reasons for the similarities. Read the rest of this entry »
King Agrippa, the son of Herod of Acts 12, came to Caesarea to with his sister, Bernice, of offer Festus his royal welcome to the east (Acts 25:13). The meeting occurred sometime in 59 CE either during the summer just after the Pentecost holy day or during the autumn just after Tabernacles, which includes several annual holy days. Since Paul’s journey to Rome occurs some weeks after the fast (Acts 27:9 – i.e. the Day of Atonement), Agrippa’s visit probably occurred just after the autumn holy days, showing Festus spent the summer months in vain, wondering what to write to Caesar concerning Paul (cp. Acts 25:26). Read the rest of this entry »
We can probably date King Agrippa’s visit with Festus just after one of the Jewish annual feast days, either Pentecost or Tabernacles, cir 59 CE. No doubt the king and his sister, Bernice, celebrated the Jewish holy day(s) at Jerusalem and afterward came to Caesarea to pay their respects to the new Roman governor of Judea (Acts 25:13). Since the royal couple’s visit lasted for some time, Paul’s house arrest would have no doubt been noted, and whoever initiated the discussion of Paul’s state, Festus took the opportunity to seek Agrippa’s advice on how to accuse Paul in his letter to the emperor (cp. Acts 25:26). Read the rest of this entry »
If only I could undo some of the things I have done… if only! Have you ever felt this way too? I believe this may have been how Festus felt after Paul appealed to Caesar. At first, one might presume that Paul had many prominent accusers, so surely something could be written up to show that Caesar’s court is where Paul should be. After all, he had been accused of treason, no matter how one looked at the Jewish authorities’ accusations. Yet, it wasn’t long before Festus realized that he was in a very uncomfortable position. Read the rest of this entry »
The identity of Luke’s Theophilus (Acts 1:1; Luke 1:3) could be a very important matter. For example, if I were to address a letter to “Mr. President,” the weight of its content and some of its meaning would be determined by who my addressee happens to be. If it were the president of the Elks Club or the CEO of a large business or the President of the United States, knowing his identity would determine how the letter should be read. Similarly, the identification of Luke’s addressee could determine some of the meaning of the content of his works, especially matters of his Gospel that are peculiar only to Luke. Nevertheless, it seems that knowledge of who Theophilus is has been forgotten, and no one throughout the centuries (to my knowledge) has considered it important enough to engage in a real study to reclaim his identity until recently. Read the rest of this entry »
Festus had admitted to King Agrippa and those present with him that he presumed Paul was innocent, but because he appealed to Caesar rather than go to Jerusalem to be tried by his accusers, he (i.e. Festus) had nothing to write to the Emperor by way of explanation of the reason for his imprisonment and need of judgment. (Acts 25:24-27).
Paul began his defense by recognizing King Agrippa’s familiarity with the Jewish faith and that he (Paul) could speak more freely, knowing his words would be understood. Paul mentioned, as he had done before the Jews who laid hands on him in the Temple (Acts 22), that at one time he had persecuted the very Way which he now followed. He told the king that he had seen a vision while on his way to Damascus. This vision was a light that was so bright both Paul and the men with him fell to the ground. There it was that he both heard and saw Jesus alive. Read the rest of this entry »
Felix had left the government of Palestine without ever making a decision about Paul. Whereupon, after Festus arrived at Caesarea and had gone up to Jerusalem, he was informed by the Jewish authorities there that Paul, Festus’ prisoner, ought not to live. However, Festus wouldn’t agree to send for Paul to be brought to Jerusalem, because he thought it better for his accusers to come with him to Caesarea an there make their case against Paul (Acts 25:1-5).
The problem was the Jews made accusations, but were unable to prove anything, and this surprised Festus, for he was expecting some kind of evidence to warrant their demands for execution. However, he made the mistake of wishing to please the Jewish authorities and thereby begin his term as their governor on friendly terms. He asked Paul, since Festus was unfamiliar with Jewish law, if he were willing to go to Jerusalem and be judged by the Sanhedrin in his (Festus’) presence? Paul made it known to Festus that it should be obvious to the governor that he had committed no crime worthy of death, which would have been the sure outcome of such a trial. So, Paul appealed to be heard by Caesar to settle the matter (Acts 25:6-11). Read the rest of this entry »
A few days after Paul was taken to Caesarea, Ananias, the high priest, and the other chief Jews arrived to accuse Paul in Felix’s court (Acts 24:1). However, nothing they claimed could be proved and, moreover, hadn’t even brought the men from Asia who claimed Paul had brought gentiles into the Temple complex in order to pollute the Sanctuary (Acts 24:12-13, 18-19). The most that could be said was: Paul had caused some commotion in the Sanhedrin by claiming he believed in a resurrection, but the chief priests allow for this (Acts 24:20-21), for the Pharisees among them believe such, though they, the Sadducees, do not. Read the rest of this entry »