Porcius Festus and Paul

Governor Porcius Festus took over for Governor Felix.  He went to Jerusalem, where the Jewish leaders gave a report about Paul.  They wanted Paul sent to Jerusalem.  The new Governor was going to Caesarea, so that he invited Paul’s accusers to go with him to Caesarea, where he would have a trial for Paul.  They presented the charges against Paul, but Paul claimed he had done nothing wrong.  Governor Festus asked Paul if wanted to go to Jerusalem for a trial there.  Paul wanted to be tried by Caesar’s tribunal, so that he said that he appealed to Caesar.  Festus then said that Paul would go to the Emperor Caesar.

Paul’s defense

Paul made his defense.  He said that he went to worship at Jerusalem, not to cause any trouble.  Besides, they could not prove what they were saying. Paul said that he believed in the Law and the prophets as well as sharing a hope in the resurrection.  Paul had a clear conscience.  He had brought alms to Jerusalem.  He was praying in the Temple with a purification rite, when the Jews from Asia showed up.  Paul wanted them to tell Felix what crimes he had done.  Paul said that this whole dispute was about the resurrection of the dead.  Finally, Governor Felix adjourned the meeting.

The Trial before Governor Felix

Governor Felix decided to hear Paul’s case.  The high priest Ananias and the elders showed up five days later in Caesarea.  They brought a spokesman or lawyer called Tertullus who said that Felix was a good ruler.  He was grateful to Felix, that the governor was going to hear his plea.  Tertullus said that Paul was an agitator and the ringleader of the Nazarene sect.  He also had tried to profane their Jerusalem Temple.  The Roman commander in Jerusalem, Claudius Lysias, did not let them judge Paul by their Jewish law.  Thus, Paul should be examined, as the others Jews also agreed that this was true.

Paul was sent to the Roman Governor Felix

The Roman commander told two centurions to take a strong militia in order to have Paul go to Felix the governor.  This Roman commander wrote a letter to the governor.  He greeted him and said that Paul was a Roman citizen.  He was brought to the Jewish Jerusalem Sanhedrin because he was charged with breaking Jewish law, but nothing deserving death.  They then had a plot to kill Paul.  The soldiers were bringing him to be judged.  The cavalry horsemen were bringing Paul to Felix, the Roman governor.  Thus, they brought him with this letter to Caesarea.  Then the Roman governor found out that Paul was from Cilicia.

The plot to kill Paul

There was a conspiracy against Paul with more than forty people.  These conspirators went to the chief priests with a plan to kill Paul.  The nephew of Paul found out about this plan and went to visit Paul.  Paul told the centurion to take his nephew to the Roman commander.  They went to the Roman commander as he listened privately to him.  The Jewish Sanhedrin wanted to have Paul come back.  They would kill him on the way there.  Thus, the plot was revealed.  The Roman commander told Paul’s nephew not to tell anyone.

Paul before the Jerusalem Sanhedrin Council with the high priest

Paul met before the Jewish Sanhedrin Council, as he spoke with a clear conscience.  The high priest wanted someone to strike Paul.  Paul responded to the high priest, while others said that he was insulting the high priest.  Paul said that he did not realize who the high priest was.  Paul insisted that he was a Pharisee.  Then the Pharisees and Sadducees began to argue with each other about the resurrection, angels, and spirits.  The Pharisee scribes said that they found nothing wrong with Paul.  The Roman commander stepped in.  Then the Lord spoke to Paul when he was in jail.

The speech of Paul in Jerusalem

Paul wanted them to listen to him.  They became quiet when they heard Paul speak.  Paul said that he was educated in Jerusalem.  He had persecuted the Way, so that he had letters to punish the Way in Damascus.  For the third time, Paul explained his conversion.  On his way to Damascus, a great light shone around him.  A voice asked him why he was persecuting him?  Paul responded by saying “Who are you?”  No one else heard the voice.  Paul then asked “What am I to do?”  Paul was blind.  Ananias from Damascus came to Paul to tell him that he had been chosen to be a witness for Jesus.  He was not to delay.  Paul said that he was praying in the Jerusalem Temple when he saw Jesus.  He had beaten up people who believed in the Lord.  He had approved of the death of Stephen.  However, Jesus told him to go to the gentiles.  With that, the Jewish crowd shouted that he should be put to death.

Paul is arrested

On this visit to Jerusalem, Paul was attacked by a Jewish mob.  They dragged Paul from the Temple as Jerusalem was in confusion.  The Roman commander broke up the crowd.  He wanted to know what was going on.  The soldiers carried Paul to jail as, the Asian Jews wanted to kill Paul.  Then the Roman commander realized that Paul knew Greek and that he was not an Egyptian.  Paul said that he was a Jew from Tarsus.  He wanted to speak to this crowd in Hebrew.