Day 141: The Case: Tertullus vs. The Holy Spirit

Acts 23:31 – 24:9 :

So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. But on the next day they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the barracks. When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. When the governor had read it, he asked what province he was from. When he understood that he was from Cilicia, he said, “I will hear you fully when your accusers also arrive.” He commanded that he be kept in Herod’s palace.

After five days, the high priest, Ananias, came down with certain elders and an orator, one Tertullus. They informed the governor against Paul. When he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “Seeing that by you we enjoy much peace, and that excellent measures are coming to this nation, we accept it in all ways and in all places, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness. But, that I don’t delay you, I entreat you to bear with us and hear a few words. For we have found this man to be a plague, an instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, and we arrested him. We wanted to judge him according to our law, but the commanding officer, Lysias, came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.”

The Jews also joined in the attack, affirming that these things were so.

It is obvious to me that either the high priest didn’t realize what he was doing or he was fooled into thinking that God actually liked him better. We see here that he decided to get a good lawyer and go to court against the Holy Spirit. The lawyer was named Tertullus and he was a great speaker. He was probably one of the best speakers money could buy. The problem was that God had committed to speaking, on behalf of Paul by the Holy Spirit as Jesus had clearly said in Luke 12:11-12.

We can read Tertullus’ opening arguments here. He claims that Paul is “a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.” That was not likely at all in that Paul had clearly been a Pharisee and Jesus Himself was not a ringleader of a sect either, but that, along with the lie that Paul was an “instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the world” was what Turtullus was accusing. We know from reading this history in Acts that Paul spent his time working with Gentiles. That was the reason they didn’t like him in the temple. Their argument was pretty easy to expose as faulty.

It’s good to see here that the law of the land was being carried out as opposed to the law that the high priest wanted to carry out. Even though the Jewish law, when properly applied was better than the Roman law, God used the Roman law to protect Paul against abusers of the Law of God. Perhaps Turtullus was thinking that Felix didn’t know Jewish Law and would just trust that it was their matter and turn Paul over to them.