Four Trump-up Charges
“And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul” (Acts 24:1).
Why was there a need for an orator or lawyer in the first place?
He began his accusations against Apostle Paul by stroking the ego of Felix the governor.
“And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence” (Acts 24:2).
As with most talking-heads, this is only talking. Tertullus complimented Governor Felix.
Tertullus – Flattery Will Get You Nowhere!
He mentioned a “great quietness” or peace that the Jews enjoyed. This was a result of Governor Felix being in office. Then he spoke of his “very worthy deeds” done to the Jewish people.
However, he didn’t mention any of those good things. Not even one.
He continued: “We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness” (Acts 24:3).
Then he listed four general, puny, and unproven charges against Apostle Paul.
He claims that Apostle Paul is a “pestilent fellow”, inciter of rebellion (a trouble maker), a Nazarene ringleader, and a profaner (Acts 24:5-6).
“Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words” (Acts 24:4).
Tertullus Omitted their Plans to Murder Paul
“Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law” (Acts 24:6).
Notice, at this juncture, that Tertullus did not mention the conspiracy.
More than forty Jewish men had bonded themselves in an oath to murder Apostle Paul.
They vowed not to eat or drink anything until they kill him. I think these guys died from starvation.
“But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands” (Acts 24:7).
“Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him” (Acts 24:8).
Claudius Lysias – Chief Captain
“And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so” (Acts 24:9).
As Tertullus did so too did Apostle Paul, for he complimented the Governor also.
“Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself” (Acts 24:10).
So, what’s then is the difference between Tertullus and Apostle Paul? The former, because of his skill with words used them to conceal his real motive.
However, the latter, because of his undefiled and pure conscience and also his skill with words utilized them to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Additionally, in stating his defense he declared and accomplished the will of God for his life.
So, Apostle Paul begins “Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem … to worship” (Acts 24:11).
Apostle Paul Defends Tertullus’ Accusations Before Governor Felix
Apostle Paul – A Pestilent Fellow?
Note how Apostle Paul implies that if he were a “pestilent fellow” the Jews would find him “disputing” with others in the temple. But they didn’t!
Paul continues, “And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues nor in the city” (Acts 24:12).
Apostle Paul – A Mover of Sedition?
Similarly, concerning Tertillus’ accusations that he was an inciter of rebellion amongst all the Jews, Paul defended himself.
He proposed that the Jews never found him “raising up the people, neither in the synagogues nor in the city” (Acts 24:12).
In other words, the Jews never found him motivating the people to rebel or use violence. He was never a trouble-rouser. A troublemaker.
Apostle Paul – A Nazarene Ringleader?
On this third charge, Apostle Paul was silent. He didn’t think that it merits a response.
As was the case with the last charge above against Apostle Paul, he ignored this one totally.
Apostle Paul – A Profaner of the Temple?
He had no need to explain that he was not a profaner of the temple. He had already informed the Governor that he had gone to the temple to “worship” (Acts 24:11).
Therefore he concluded that their claims were baseless.
Paul continues, “Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me” (Acts 24:13).
Finally, this apostle made a stunning confession. And what he said was not easy to say because of the time and the people he was amongst.
“But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:” (Acts 24:14).
Today, Christians face a similar situation. Now, the so-called “Church” describes those of the Heresy as charismatic and denominational.
“And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Acts 24:15).
We have come full-circle.
“And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to [offense] toward God, and toward men”(Acts 24:16).
Apostle Paul easily and effectively countered the four charges Tertillus brought against him.
However, to resolve these accusations a ruler or a “judge” has to hear them. Then he makes a decision based on the evidence presented before him in the trial.
Governor Felix was a Judge over the Jews (Acts 24:10). He was also a Gentile.
The Lord God had chosen Apostle Paul to speak about the name of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, governors, and kings (Acts 9:15; Matthew 10:18).
Unwittingly, Tertillus the Orator had assisted Apostle Paul to do the will of God. Paul knew God’s will for him. Tertillus just helped him to accomplish it (Acts 22:14).
Finally, this was Paul’s first appearance before Governor Felix. Later, he will have many more opportunities to speak about the name of Jesus Christ to him.
In closing, when we know the will of God for our particular situation we will never complain.
We should just press on knowing that we are instruments to accomplish His will.
And we must be cognizant that everything that we shall experience, as we do His will, He will resolve them for us.