Prosecutor’s Remarks - vv 1-9
Prosecutor’s Remarks - vv 1-9
After five days, Paul’s trial can begin. Ananias and a delegation from the Sanhedrin along with lawyer or orator to make their case against Paul. [read v1]
As was common, those bringing the charges or claim spoke first to present their case to the governor. In true lawyer fashion, especially of the time, Tertullus gives Felix a heavy coating of flattery [read 2-4]. He’s laying it on real thick folks, I doubt very much that any average Jew that would have heard Tertullus’ comments that day would have agreed with him. Both a Roman and a Jewish historian tells us that Felix was rather fierce in his governorship. But the lawyer continues to present his case against Paul.
There are three charges that the Sanhedrin are leveling against Paul. First: Treason against Rome. They call him a plague or pestilence and an agitator among the Jews. They’re blaming Paul for inciting riots and problems among the Jews throughout the Empire. In recent years there had been uprisings in major cities such as Rome and Alexandria, two places Paul has not been; true Paul was in cities closer to home where riots happened, Thessalonica, Corinth, Ephesus, in southern Galatia, and Jerusalem; but we know that he had actually started or incited any of these riots. Second charge: Religious heresy. Paul is called a “ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes”, here they are trying to say he has violated Mosaic Law. The Third charge: Temple desecration. In chapter 21, the original charge was the Paul had brought a Greek in the restricted area, now the Sanhedrin seemed satisfied to soften the charge to Paul had tried to and they had apprehended him.
[read 6a] Now there is debate over the inclusion of the second half over 6 through the beginning of verse 8, for our purposes today, we will include this section of verses, so continuing on [read 6b-8]. By including these verses we see that Tertullus is trying to score points against Lysias, and taking an even more free hand with the truth than Lysias had done in his letter. The Jews were trying to keep the peace by having the Temple Police arrest Paul so that the Jews could try him, but Lysias had troops rush in violently to grab Paul and is wasting everyone’s time by making everyone come to Caesarea. Tertullus implies that if Lysias were present Felix could get the same story from him. We know that if Lysias and the Romans had not rescued Paul, the Jewish mob would have beaten him to death, not try him according the Law.
Once Tertullus had finished, the Jewish delegation all vehemently agreed with him and joined in the attack against Paul. The prosecution has rested its case. I think that Tertullus’ tactic was that by accusing Paul of causing Jewish riots around the Empire Felix may just have him executed and be done with it, or if Felix wasn’t convinced of that charge, maybe by claiming the Jews had real legal reasons to try Paul, Felix would just send him back with them to deal with.
Application of seared Conscience; ; ;