Shortly after arriving in Caesarea (23:33) Paul stood before Felix for an initial hearing along with some Jewish religious leaders and Tertullus, an attorney of sorts. Tertullus began with a flattering opening speech (vv. 2-3) and then brought charges (v. 1) against Paul (vv. 5-6): Paul was a menace to society (“plague”) who stirred up trouble as a cult-leader (“sect”) and profaned the temple.
Paul responded to these accusations with facts: he was in Jerusalem to worship (v. 11), minding his own business (v. 12); they had no evidence to back their charges (v. 13), and he lived for what was right (vv. 14-16). Paul closed by explaining why he was in Jerusalem (v. 17), detailing what happened in the temple (v. 18), and again refuting his accusers’ baseless accusations (vv. 19-21).
Felix determined to wait to hear the testimony of Lysias, the Roman commander (vv. 22-23). In the meantime, Felix periodically met with Paul hoping for a bribe (v. 26). Instead, Paul preached the gospel to him (vv. 24-25). Consequently, Paul spent two years imprisoned in Caesarea (v. 27).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Christians are always responsible for living a godly life and being a good witness. They must have consciences informed by God’s Word and not live contrary to that rule and standard. Christians must honor rulers, even when they are dishonorable.
- Enemies of the cross do not care about truth and will often say whatever is needed to make people think the worst. Christian, don’t be surprised when this happens, and don’t go down to their level!
- Scripture-based-faith has a sure future hope that controls daily life (vv. 14-16).
- Delaying repentance hardens one in sin (v. 25).