Five days later Ananias, the high priest, arrived with some of the Jewish leaders and the lawyer a Tertullus, to press charges against Paul.
When Paul was called in, Tertullus laid charges against Paul in the following address to the governor:"Your Excellency, you have given peace to us Jews and have enacted reforms for us.
And for all of this we are very grateful to you.
But lest I bore you, kindly give me your attention for only a moment as I briefly outline our case against this man.
For we have found him to be a troublemaker, a man who is constantly inciting the Jews throughout the world to riots and rebellions against the Roman government. He is a ringleader of the sect known as the Nazarenes.
Moreover he was trying to defile the Temple when we arrested him. b7
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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.
Now it was Paul's turn. The governor motioned for him to rise and speak. Paul said, "I know, sir, that you have been a judge of Jewish affairs for many years, and this gives me confidence as I make my defense.
You can quickly discover that it was no more than twelve days ago that I arrived in Jerusalem to worship at the Temple.
I didn't argue with anyone in the Temple, nor did I incite a riot in any synagogue or on the streets of the city.
These men certainly cannot prove the things they accuse me of doing.
"But I admit that I follow the Way, which they call a sect. I worship the God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the books of prophecy.
I have hope in God, just as these men do, that he will raise both the righteous and the ungodly.
Because of this, I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and everyone else.
"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 ritual. 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 wrongdoing the Jewish high council c found in me,
except for one thing I said when I shouted out, 'I am on trial before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead!'"
Felix, who was quite familiar with the Way, adjourned the hearing and said, "Wait until Lysias, the garrison commander, arrives. Then I will decide the case."
He ordered an officer to keep Paul in custody but to give him some freedom and allow his friends to visit him and take care of his needs.
A few days later Felix came with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus.
As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified. "Go away for now," he replied. "When it is more convenient, I'll call for you again."
He also hoped that Paul would bribe him, so he sent for him quite often and talked with him.
Two years went by in this way; then Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish leaders, he left Paul in prison.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)