Paul’s Response vs. Reaction to Charges

A mother of a five-year-old girl was startled to find her going through a new Bible storybook and circling the word “God” wherever appeared. Stifling her first reaction to reprimand the child for defacing a book, she quietly asked, “Why are doing that?” The li … More

Reaction

Felix told Paul he would listen to his case once his accusers arrived, and while they waited he was put in the Praetorium under guard. In five days Paul’s accusers, a delegation from the Sanhedrin, arrived. This group was headed by the high priest, and included elders and a hired lawyer by the name of Tertullus (v. 1). He was a slick talker who apparently was well versed in Roman jurisprudence. This becomes clear as we read the opening of his speech before Felix which is filled with flowery praise, the giving of honorable titles, and the assurance of brevity which were all characteristics of the Roman court scene (vv. 2-4). These words were blatant lies, as Felix was known for his treachery. It is evident that this was all done to erase any animosity which the Jews and Felix had toward each other.

This group came well prepared, and the accusations against Paul were narrowed down to three:

  1. He was a nuisance, stirring up unrest in the community (v. 5).
  2. He was one of the ring leaders of the Nazarene sect (v. 5).
  3. He had attempted to profane the temple (vv. 6-8).

The first two charges were political in nature, and the second and third were religious accusations to which the Jews heartily assented. The Sanhedrin gave their amens to all the lawyer was saying (v.9). But Felix would not easily be swayed by this. He knew the reputation of Ananias the high priest. In fact Ananias and Felix were a pair well matched. However, it was highly unlikely that he would give Paul an impartial judgment if he saw it to his disadvantage. It was clearly a well-stacked case against Paul. The charges were filled with half truths and twisted facts. This is always the way organized religion seeks to discredit and destroy God’s choice servants. 

Application

I wonder how I would have reacted to these charges if I had been in Paul’s shoes? I would hope that my reaction would be as Christ-like as Paul’s was.

Acts 24:1-9 (English Standard Version)

And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul. And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: "Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation, in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him." The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all these things were so.

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