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Lesson 12 - Confinement in Caesarea

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Overall Question:  What work did Paul do during his imprisonment in the provincial capital of Caesarea?

Memory Text: Acts 26:29 New Living Translation Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.”


Sunday – Before Felix

Acts 24:10-19 New Century Version 10 When the governor made a sign for Paul to speak, Paul said, “Governor Felix, I know you have been a judge over this nation for a long time. So I am happy to defend myself before you. 11 You can learn for yourself that I went to worship in Jerusalem only twelve days ago. 12 Those who are accusing me did not find me arguing with anyone in the Temple or stirring up the people in the synagogues or in the city. 13 They cannot prove the things they are saying against me now. 14 But I will tell you this: I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way of Jesus. The others say that the Way of Jesus is not the right way. But I believe everything that is taught in the law of Moses and that is written in the books of the Prophets. 15 I have the same hope in God that they have—the hope that all people, good and bad, will surely be raised from the dead. 16 This is why I always try to do what I believe is right before God and people. 17 “After being away from Jerusalem for several years, I went back to bring money to my people and to offer sacrifices. 18 I was doing this when they found me in the Temple. I had finished the cleansing ceremony and had not made any trouble; no people were gathering around me. 19 But there were some people from Asia who should be here, standing before you. If I have really done anything wrong, they are the ones who should accuse me.

Acts 24:12 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY No one could say he had seen Paul doing any of the things of which his enemies were accusing him. Paul’s statements were also capable of proof. There were no witnesses who could prove that Paul had spoken or otherwise conducted himself in an offensive way.

Acts 24:16 Good News Translation And so I do my best always to have a clear conscience before God and people.


Monday – Before Festus

Acts 25:1-5 Contemporary English Version Three days after Festus had become governor, he went from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2 There the chief priests and some Jewish leaders told him about their charges against Paul. They also asked Festus 3 if he would be willing to bring Paul to Jerusalem. They begged him to do this because they were planning to attack and kill Paul on the way. 4 But Festus told them, “Paul will be kept in Caesarea, and I am soon going there myself. 5 If he has done anything wrong, let your leaders go with me and bring charges against him there.”

Acts 25:9-12 New Living Translation 9 Then Festus, wanting to please the Jews, asked him, “Are you willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there?” 10 But Paul replied, “No! This is the official Roman court, so I ought to be tried right here. You know very well I am not guilty of harming the Jews. 11 If I have done something worthy of death, I don’t refuse to die. But if I am innocent, no one has a right to turn me over to these men to kill me. I appeal to Caesar!” 12 Festus conferred with his advisers and then replied, “Very well! You have appealed to Caesar, and to Caesar you will go!”

Acts 25:11 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY The emperor was the final court of appeal from all subordinate tribunals throughout the empire… It has been suggested that by appealing his case to Caesar, Paul purposed not only to secure a decision in his own case, which had come to a standstill, but also, perhaps, to secure at least a measure of recognition for Christianity as a legal religion in its own right. This might well be expected to afford the ambassadors of the cross greater freedom wherever they might go, and to overcome local opposition the more readily.


Tuesday – Before Agrippa

Acts 25:13-22 New English Translation 13 After several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 While they were staying there many days, Festus explained Paul’s case to the king to get his opinion, saying, “There is a man left here as a prisoner by Felix. 15 When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me about him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him. 16 I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to hand over anyone before the accused had met his accusers face to face and had been given an opportunity to make a defense against the accusation. 17 So after they came back here with me, I did not postpone the case, but the next day I sat on the judgment seat and ordered the man to be brought. 18 When his accusers stood up, they did not charge him with any of the evil deeds I had suspected. 19 Rather they had several points of disagreement with him about their own religion and about a man named Jesus who was dead, whom Paul claimed to be alive. 20 Because I was at a loss how I could investigate these matters, I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried there on these charges. 21 But when Paul appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of His Majesty the Emperor, I ordered him to be kept under guard until I could send him to Caesar.” 22 Agrippa said to Festus, “I would also like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he replied, “you will hear him.”

Acts 25:13 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Festus would naturally turn to Agrippa II for counsel concerning the handling of Paul’s case. Agrippa had custody of the Temple treasure and the privilege of appointing the high priest. He was therefore in a sense a religious colleague of the Roman governor, and in a position to give sound advice with respect to the case.

Acts 25:23-27 Easy-to-Read Version 23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came to the meeting with great show, acting like very important people. They entered the room with military leaders and important men of the city. Festus ordered the soldiers to bring Paul in. 24 Festus said, “King Agrippa and all of you gathered here with us, you see this man. All the Jewish people, here and in Jerusalem, have complained to me about him. When they complain about him, they shout that he should be killed. 25 When I judged him, I did not find him guilty of any crime worthy of death. But he asked to be judged by Caesar, so I decided to send him to Rome. 26 However, I don’t really know what to tell Caesar that this man has done wrong. So I have brought him before all of you—especially you, King Agrippa. I hope that you can question him and give me something to write to Caesar. 27 I think it is foolish to send a prisoner to Caesar without making some charges against him.”


Wednesday – Paul’s Defense

Acts 26:1-23 God’s Word Translation Agrippa said to Paul, “You’re free to speak for yourself.” Paul acknowledged King Agrippa and then began his defense. 2 “King Agrippa, I think I’m fortunate today to stand in front of you and defend myself against every charge that the Jews brought against me. 3 I say this since you are especially familiar with every custom and controversy in Judaism. So I ask you to listen patiently to me. 4 “All the Jews know how I lived the earliest days of my youth with my own people and in Jerusalem. 5 They’ve known me for a long time and can testify, if they’re willing, that I followed the strictest party of our religion. They know that I lived my life as a Pharisee. 6 “I’m on trial now because I expect God to keep the promise that he made to our ancestors. 7 Our twelve tribes expect this promise to be kept as they worship with intense devotion day and night. Your Majesty, the Jews are making accusations against me because I expect God to keep his promise. 8 Why do all of you refuse to believe that God can bring dead people back to life? 9 “I used to think that I had to do a lot of things to oppose the one named Jesus of Nazareth. 10 That is what I did in Jerusalem. By the authority I received from the chief priests, I locked many Christians in prison. I voted to have them killed every time a vote was taken. 11 I even went to each synagogue, punished believers, and forced them to curse the name of Jesus. In my furious rage against them, I hunted them down in cities outside Jerusalem. 12 “I was carrying out these activities when I went to the city of Damascus. I had the power and authority of the chief priests. 13 Your Majesty, at noon, while I was traveling, I saw a light that was brighter than the sun. The light came from the sky and shined around me and those who were with me. 14 All of us fell to the ground, and I heard a voice asking me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting me? It’s hard for a mortal like you to resist God.’ 15 “I asked, ‘Who are you, sir?’ “The Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus, the one you’re persecuting. 16 Stand up! I have appeared to you for a reason. I’m appointing you to be a servant and witness of what you have seen and of what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from the Jewish people and from the non-Jewish people to whom I am sending you. 18 You will open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from Satan’s control to God’s. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and a share among God’s people who are made holy by believing in me.’

19 “At that point I did not disobey the vision I saw from heaven, King Agrippa. 20 Instead, I spread the message that I first told to the Jewish people in Damascus and Jerusalem and throughout the whole country of Judea. I spread the same message to non-Jewish people. Both groups were expected to change the way they thought and acted and to turn to God. I told them to do things that prove they had changed their lives. 21 For this reason the Jews took me prisoner in the temple courtyard and tried to murder me.  22 “God has been helping me to this day so that I can stand and testify to important and unimportant people. I tell them only what the prophets and Moses said would happen. 23 They said that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to come back to life and would spread light to Jewish and non-Jewish people.”


Thursday – Paul Before the Leaders

Acts 26:27-28 New International Reader’s Version 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”  28 Then Agrippa spoke to Paul. “Are you trying to talk me into becoming a Christian?” he said. “Do you think you can do that in such a short time?”

Acts 26:30-32 Modern English Version 30 When he had said this, the king rose, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them. 31 When they had gone aside, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing deserving death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Acts 26:31 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Nothing worthy of death. Paul might be “mad” (vs. 24, 25), but he was not dangerous. Festus and Agrippa were apparently willing to concede that Paul was sincere, informed, and afire with zeal for God.

Acts 26:24-28 New International Version 24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” 25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

Acts 26:26 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Paul did speak freely, partly because he had in King Agrippa an informed listener, and perhaps partly because he realized this was probably his final hearing in Palestine. Much depended upon it, both for himself and for his listeners.

Acts 26:27 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Agrippa realized that all Paul said was true, but, for him, knowledge and conviction failed to produce action

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