Five days after Paul had been brought to Caesarea, he appeared before Felix as Ananias, the elders and Tertullus, an orator (lawyer) made their case against him.
Tertullus began his testimony against Paul by being highly complementary of Felix to gain immediate favor in the governor’s eyes. He then listed three things of which Paul was accused. First, he had caused dissension among all of the Jews in the world. Second, he was the ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. Third, he had tried to profane the temple.
The prosecution further stated that the commander Lysias had removed Paul by great violence from the Jews and ordered them to appear before Felix. Tertullus further suggested that if he questioned Lysias about the matter, he would get the same information.
When Paul was given permission to speak, he reasoned that in the short time that he had been in Jerusalem, he could not have caused the uproar that Tertullus had described. He did state, however “that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.”
As for profaning the temple, Paul stated that after many years he had brought alms and offerings to his nation. This was the contribution that he had collected from the Gentiles in Macedonia and Achaia. He said that the Jews from Asia who had seen him in the temple should have come to state their charges against him. Their only possibility of a case was his statement concerning the resurrection of the dead, of which the majority of the Jews believed.
Felix was convinced that Paul’s problem was with the Jews and that he was innocent of any crime against Rome. If he had been truly concerned for justice, he would have released Paul for lack of evidence. Since he was a corrupt politician and wanted to please the Jews, he continued to hold Paul until he could question the commander, Lysias. Even though he was at liberty to visit his friends, Paul was chained to a soldier to prevent his escape.
After a period of time, Felix along with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess called for Paul to explain things concerning the faith in Christ. Felix was familiar with Christianity and Drusilla was closely related to the kings who had persecuted Christians.
Paul explained the evils of the sins that Felix and Drusilla had committed and the consequences that they faced in the judgment if they did not turn from their wickedness. Even a tyrant can be touched by the gospel for Felix was terrified by Paul’s teaching, but Satan prodded Felix to say, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” As far as we know, he never again had a “convenient time.” Today is the day of salvation!
Felix, hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe for his freedom called him many times, but the bribe did not come. After two years, Nero removed him as governor and named Porcius Festus as his successor. Even then, in order to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul in prison.