Bible Topics In The Christian Library

The Accusation of Paul's Enemies

Verses 1-4- "Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul. {2} And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: "Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight, {3} "we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. {4} "Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us."

A. "Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with...." 
1. It is likely that Lysais had notified the high priest of the "change of venue" in Paul's case. Knowing the hatred that the high priest had for Paul, it is not surprising that they would go to the trouble of making the trip to Caesarea to present their case before Felix.
2. The elders here would be some of the more influential leaders of the Sanhedrin. 

3. Rounding out the accusers was a hired Roman orator, Tertullus. Tertullus was likely also a lawyer and knew Roman law.

B. "And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying..." 
1. Tertullus began his case against Paul by flattering Felix. 

2. It is true that Felix had put down the Egyptian uprising, but he had also order a previous high priest murdered. 

3. It is likely that Palestine was enjoying a relative period of peace and prosperity, certainly more than Pilate=s day and far more that what would take place in the years after Felix. 

Vereses 5-9- ""For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. {6} "He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law. {7} "But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, {8} "commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him." {9} And the Jews also assented, maintaining that these things were so."
A. The charges brought against Paul. 
1. One who stirred up dissension among Jews throughout the whole Roman world. 
a. If provable this would be the most damaging in the eyes of a Roman procurator. He would treasure keeping the peace more than anything else.
2. He was a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 
a. This was the description that the enemies of Christianity gave to Christians. This would be used to reinforce in Roman minds that Paul followed one who had been publically executed for rebellion against the state.
3. He tried to profane the temple - This was the false accusation that Paul had brought Gentiles into the temple area reserved only for Jews. This was completely false.
B. The Jews thwarted. 
1. They would have judged him had it not been for the Romans interfering. In essence, they would h ave murdered Paul, as they were well on their way to doing. 

2. After Tertullus finished all the Jews with him nodded their assent to the speech, thus agreeing with all that was said. 

Paul's Defense

Verses 10-21 "Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: "Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself, {11} "because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. {12} "And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. {13} "Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. {14} "But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. {15} "I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. {16} "This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. {17} "Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation, {18} "in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult. {19} "They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me. {20} "Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council, {21} "unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, 'Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.'""

A. Paul's compliment of Felix. 
1. Paul does not flatter Felix, but states his thankfulness at being judged by him. 

2. Paul states that Felix had been ruler over the Jews for a number of years. He had been governor for about six years in his own right and was joint procurator with his predecessor (Cumanus) for several years before. 

3. This would enable him to have a thorough knowledge of Jewish practices and politics.

B. Paul's answer to the charges. 
1. He was not an insurrectionist. He had travelled to Jerusalem to worship. He had not gathered a crowd or stirred up and dispute, either in one of the synagogues or other part of the city. 
a. Paul states that it has been no more than twelve days since he had arrived in Jerusalem. No insurrection is stirred up in such a little time.
2. He fully admits to being a Christian, but states that Christianity is simply a fulfillment of what the Old Testament prophesied.
C. Paul's true motives for coming to Jerusalem. 
1. He brought alms (the contribution) for those who were needy. 

2. He was found in the temple worshipping with other Jews, not stirring up a riot. 

3. Paul states that the original accusors, the Asian Jews, should have been there if they wished to object to him. 

4. He finally states that the Jewish leaders know that there is nothing to these charges. He states that the true reason for his being on charges is his belief in the resurrection of the dead. 

Verses 22-27 "But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case." {23} So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him. {24} And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. {25} Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you." {26} Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him. {27} But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound."
A. "But when Felix heard these things..."
1. Felix already had a good working knowledge of Christianity. Here was the home of Cornelius. Here, too, was the home of Philip the evangelist and his daughters. The church was strong here and quite possibly influential.
2. Felix decided to postpone a decision in the case until Lysias arrived some he could get all of the facts. 

3. Paul was to have complete liberty to receive brethren and guests.

B. Paul preaches to Felix. 
1. Felix calls from Paul to hear further concerning Christianity. 

2. Felix's wife was Jewish herself. 

a. DRUSILLA (Drew sihl' luh) Wife of Felix, the Roman governor of Judea who heard Paul's case. Drusilla was a Jew and listened to Paul's arguments with her husband (Acts 24:24). She was the youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I. She had been engaged to Antiochus Ephiphanes of Commagene, but he refused to become a Jew. King Aziz of Emesa did agree to be circumcized, and they were married. Atomos, a magician from Cyprus, helped Felix win Drusilla away from her husband. Apparently, her son Agrippa died when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. She may have also died in this disaster. 

b. Coffman says that she was knows for her great beauty and had a character of selfishness and lack of moral restraint.

C. Paul's sermon. 
1. Righteousness - There is a standard of right and wrong. Felix evidently, from his conduct, thought that he was his own law. Christianity called for an understanding of the total righteousness of God and the need of men to be pleasing to him and righteous toward their fellow man. 

2. Temperence - To control and master the passions and desires of one's body. See 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. 

3. Judgement to come - There would come a day when all would have to give an account for their deeds before God. See Romans 2:5-10 and Hebrews 9:27. 

4. Notice that Paul did not preach what Felix wanted, but what he needed.

D. Felix's reaction. 
1. He was afraid. But this was not a godly sorrow that produced repentance. See 2 Corinthians 7:10. 

2. After the initial fear wore off he sent Paul away and then began to scheme for a way to get money from Paul, or the Christians. This shows his nature. He knew that Paul was innocent, but would not release him because he desire a bribe. 

3. The last act of this wicked and corrupt man was to leave Paul in jail. We are told it was done to do the Jews a favor. Did Felix finally get the bribe he was wanting in the case, only from a different source?


Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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