ImmerseMessiah NLT - Flipbook - Page 115
L UK E – A cts
So that night, as ordered, the soldiers took Paul as far as Antipatris. They
returned to the fortress the next morning, while the mounted troops took
him on to Caesarea. When they arrived in Caesarea, they presented Paul
and the letter to Governor Felix. He read it and then asked Paul what province he was from. “Cilicia,” Paul answered.
“I will hear your case myself when your accusers arrive,” the governor
told him. Then the governor ordered him kept in the prison at Herod’s
Five days later Ananias, the high priest, arrived with some of the Jewish
elders and the lawyer Tertullus, to present their case against Paul to the
governor. When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented the charges against
Paul in the following address to the governor:
“You have provided a long period of peace for us Jews and with foresight
have enacted reforms for us. For all of this, Your Excellency, we are very
grateful to you. But I don’t want to bore you, so please give me your attention for only a moment. We have found this man to be a troublemaker
who is constantly stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He
is a ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes. Furthermore, he was
trying to desecrate the Temple when we arrested him. You can find out the
truth of our accusations by examining him yourself.” Then the other Jews
chimed in, declaring that everything Tertullus said was true.
The governor then motioned for Paul to speak. Paul said, “I know, sir,
that you have been a judge of Jewish affairs for many years, so I gladly
present my defense before you. You can quickly discover that I arrived
in Jerusalem no more than twelve days ago to worship at the Temple. My
accusers never found me arguing with anyone in the Temple, nor stirring
up a riot in any synagogue or on the streets of the city. These men cannot
prove the things they accuse me of doing.
“But I admit that I follow the Way, which they call a cult. I worship the
God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything
written in the prophets. I have the same hope in God that these men have,
that he will raise both the righteous and the unrighteous. Because of this,
I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.
“After several years away, I returned to Jerusalem with money to aid my
people and to offer sacrifices to God. My accusers saw me in the Temple as
I was completing a purification ceremony. There was no crowd around me
and no rioting. But some Jews from the province of Asia were there—and
they ought to be here to bring charges if they have anything against me!
Ask these men here what crime the Jewish high council found me guilty
of, except for the one time I shouted out, ‘I am on trial before you today
because I believe in the resurrection of the dead!’”