Tertullus says: We have, in fact, found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator 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 so we seized him. Acts 24:5-7
In Caesarea before Felix the governor, lawyer Tertullus accuses Paul of sedition, heresy, and profaning the temple. Felix had already governed Judea for six or seven years and knows court prodtocal. Tertullus’ saccharine presentation injustly accuses Paul while Paul’s response is humble and directly responsive. Paul is listening to Spirit and acting out of Spirit’s directions.
To the accusations, Paul responds that he has not been in Jerusalem long enough to form an uprising of any people since he had been in the temple for the seven day purification ceremony and was arrested on the sixth day. In total he spent seven days in Jerusalem and has been in Caesarea for five days. Paul challenges the accusers to produce any evidence that he was the source of a dispute while he was in Jerusalem.
As to the accusation of heresy, Paul professes to be a Christian and says that this religion the Way is in agreement with the law and the prophets and should be accepted as such. And in response to the accusation that he has profaned the temple, well not that long ago he stood before the high priest and the council (the Sanhedrin) and they found him innocent of this.
Paul says, “Let these men here tell what crime they had found when I stood before the council, unless it was this one sentence that I called out while standing before them, ‘It is about the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’” Acts 24:20-21. Felix is familiar with The Way (Christianity) and says he will wait and talk with Lysias when he comes but in the meantime Paul will be put under house arrest and his friends may come at any time to take care of his needs.
This is a victory for Paul because not only is he safely behind closed doors in comfort but he may talk, teach, write, rest, eat with whomever he desires to, and commune with our Lord in peace. A few days later Felix’s wife Drusilla, who is Jewish, and Felix listen to Paul speak about faith in Jesus Christ. Paul continues, on subjects of justice, self-control, and the coming judgement.
Paul does not soften the Truth of Christ, he speaks boldly and as a free person in Christ with high confidence. Felix had an adulterous relationship with Drusilla then they married and had a son. Felix takes bribes. Felix becomes frightened and dismisses Paul saying that when he has an opportunity he will send for him.
Every so often Felix would talk with Paul but mainly in hopes that he would offer him a bribe. After two years Porcius Festus takes his office and Porcius Festus continues to keep Paul under house arrest, as a prisoner, hoping to appease the council and high priest in Jerusalem.
1. Five days later the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and an attorney, a certain Tertullus, and they reported their case against Paul to the governor. 2 When Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: “Your Excellency, because of you we have long enjoyed peace, and reforms have been made for this people because of your foresight. 3 We welcome this in every way and everywhere with utmost gratitude. 4 But, to detain you no further, I beg you to hear us briefly with your customary graciousness. 5 We have, in fact, found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator 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 so we seized him. 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn from him concerning everything of which we accuse him.” 9 The Jews also joined in the charge by asserting that all this was true. 10 When the governor motioned to him to speak, Paul replied: “I cheerfully make my defense, knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation. 11 As you can find out, it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem. 12 They did not find me disputing with anyone in the temple or stirring up a crowd either in the synagogues or throughout the city. 13 Neither can they prove to you the charge that they now bring against me. 14 But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our ancestors, believing everything laid down according to the law or written in the prophets. 15 I have a hope in God—a hope that they themselves also accept—that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. 16 Therefore I do my best always to have a clear conscience toward God and all people. 17 Now after some years I came to bring alms to my nation and to offer sacrifices. 18 While I was doing this, they found me in the temple, completing the rite of purification, without any crowd or disturbance. 19 But there were some Jews from Asia—they ought to be here before you to make an accusation, if they have anything against me. 20 Or let these men here tell what crime they had found when I stood before the council, 21 unless it was this one sentence that I called out while standing before them, ‘It is about the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’” 22 But Felix, who was rather well informed about the Way, adjourned the hearing with the comment, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” 23 Then he ordered the centurion to keep him in custody, but to let him have some liberty and not to prevent any of his friends from taking care of his needs. 24 Some days later when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak concerning faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he discussed justice, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul, and for that reason he used to send for him very often and converse with him. 27 After two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and since he wanted to grant the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison. Acts 24:1-27