Jesus’ Life: Chapter 22 – Paul’s Return To Jerusalem & Imprisonment in Caesarea
After five days of imprisonment in Caesarea, Paul was brought before the Roman Governor Felix. The main charges placed against him by representatives from the Jewish Sanhedrin were that:
- He was a troublemaker stirring up riots among the Jews throughout the Roman Empire.
- He was a ringleader of the sect (faith) of the Nazarenes (Jesus’ hometown).
- He tried to desecrate the temple by taking Gentiles (non-Jews) into it.
In his answer to the two charges, Paul said:
- “They did not find me arguing with anyone or stirring up a crowd in the temple courts or in the synagogues or throughout the city, nor can they prove to you the things they are accusing me of doing!
- I confess this to you, that I worship the God of our ancestors according to the “Faith of the Nazarenes”, believing everything that is according to the law and that is written in the prophets”. (Acts 24:12-14)
- It didn’t happen, I did not accompany any Gentiles into the temple. Where are the witnesses!
Paul added, after several years away he returned to Jerusalem to give gifts to the poor and to make offerings which he was doing “when they found [him] in the temple, ritually purified, without a crowd or a disturbance”. (Acts 24:18) Other than shouting out in the Sanhedrin, “I am on trial before you today concerning the resurrection of the dead,” Paul inquired, what charges did they find me guilty of? (Acts 24:21)
Governor Felix adjourned proceedings saying that when Lysias, the commanding officer from the barracks, comes to Caesarea, “I will decide your case”. (Acts 24:22)
Governor Felix was a corrupt judge and didn’t ever conclude Paul’s case. Instead, he left Paul languishing in prison for TWO years while he seemed to try and extort money for his release; from Paul’s own defence he knew he went to Jerusalem bringing alms to the poor and was also a leader among “The Nazarenes;” perhaps, he thought, they could pay for his freedom!
Maybe, the hope of getting money from Paul was also the reason why Governor Felix granted him access to his relatives and friends! (Acts 24:1 – 26:32)
Do I delay decisions unnecessarily to others disadvantage?
Lord Jesus, remove all evil intent from my heart; fill me with goodness and love for your people. Amen.
Prayer: Teach Us (St Ignatius of Loyola)
Teach us Good Lord;
To serve you as you deserve;
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil and not to seek for rest;
To labour and to ask for no reward,
Save that of knowing we do your will.