Acts, Chapter 24
© Copyright 2007 Darroll Evans, all rights reserved
1 And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.
2 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence,
3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
4 Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words.
5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
6 Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.
7 But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,
8 Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him.
9 And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.
After five days, the high priest Ananias came with some of the Jewish elders. He also brought along a Roman orator, named Tertullus. It seemed that the Jews came, as they say, “Loaded for bear.” They came prepared to bring brought charges against Paul.
Felix summoned Paul. Then Tertullus began his accusations. Tertullus’ words were filled with sugar coated poison.
Tertullus began by saying, “Since we have, through you, attained a time of great peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for the benefit of this nation, we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness.”
At this point any sane man would have rolled up his pant legs and made sure that he did not step into something less than desirable.
Tertullus continued with, “However, so that I may not weary you any further, I beg you to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing.”
In other words, find this scoundrel guilty quickly so we may not be inconvenienced.
Tertullus said, “We have found this man to be a real pest, a pain in the neck, and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world. He is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to desecrate the sacred temple. We arrested him. And we sought to judge him by our own Law. But, Lysias, the commander of the Roman guard came along, and with a great show of force took him away from us. Then, Lysias ordered his accusers to appear before you. And, by examining him yourself concerning all these matters, you will obviously be able to ascertain the truth of the things of which he stands accused.”
The Jewish leadership had no spiritual fear of the original Apostles. However, Paul was another matter. Satan knows who is his greatest enemies among men.
At that point in our story, the Jews in the group joined in the attack, stressing that the things Tertullus said.
Tertullus was an ancient version of today’s legal hired gun.
10 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:
11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.
12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:
13 Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.
14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.
18 Whereupon certain Jews from
19 Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me.
20 Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council,
21 Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.
Then it was Paul’s turn. Felix allowed him to respond.
He said, “Knowing that for many years you have been a judge to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense.”
Paul, when needed, could also “sling the jargon.” Paul was very well educated!
He continued, “Since you know
for a fact that no more than twelve days ago I went to
“However, I readily admit to you that I do serve the God of our fathers according to the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in agreement with the Law, and the Prophets. I have a hope in God, which I am sure that these men also cherish.
“I believe that there shall be a resurrection of both the righteous and the sinful. I have always done my best to maintain a blameless conscience both before God and men.
“After a lengthy absence, I
returned bringing alms and gifts to those of my nation. It was at that time that they found me in the
“They should have been here to make the accusations to you, if they had any. Or, these men appearing here should tell you, personally, about the transgressions they personally found when I appeared before the Sanhedrin.
“I am here for only one reason. When I stood before the Sanhedrin, I shouted, ‘Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.’”
22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.
23 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.
24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.
27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
When Felix heard all that (and having a good understanding of the Way) he decided to put off any decision. He told those assembled, “When Lysias, the chief captain, comes I will gain a better understanding of this matter.”
Then, he commanded the Centurion to keep Paul in custody, but allow him a limited freedom. It was the Roman version of protective custody, and did not require chains. He also told the Centurion to allow Paul’s friends to visit him.
A few days later, Felix and Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, sent for Paul. They wanted to hear him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. As he talked, Felix became afraid, and said, “Go away for now. I will call for you at a more convenient time.”
Felix had been hoping that Paul would try to bribe him. So, he called for him quite often, but no money was offered. Bribery is still a normal way of doing business in many countries.
After two years of Paul living as “prisoner” (with great freedom living in a palace), Festus replaced Felix as the governor in that area.