Paul’s Arrest, Trials and Journey to Rome
Paul’s Opposition and Arrest in Jerusalem
In Jerusalem Paul faced a lot of opposition, in part because a rumour had spread that Paul now disregarded the Law (Acts 21:24). Paul was afforded an opportunity to make a case for himself before the Jewish people (Acts 21:40-22:1) after being taken into custody of a Roman commander, but the people only listened to him up to a point and wanted his life (Acts 22:22). Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin (Acts 23:1), the Jews devised a plan to take his life (Acts 23:12), but Paul was comforted by the Lord and told that he will have to testify in Rome also (Acts 23:11). Paul was taken to Caesarea at night (Acts 23:23-24) after the Jewish plot to take his life was discovered. They travelled to Caesarea via Antipatris (Acts 23:31). In Caesarea, he was presented to Felix the governor (Acts 23:33) and was kept under guard until his accusers got there.
Paul’s Trial before Felix
A Jewish party led by Ananias the high priest and a lawyer named Tertullus (Acts 24:1), brought accusations before Felix concerning Paul, centered on being a “ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5). Felix delayed a verdict for two years and kept Paul in prison as a favor to the Jews (Acts 24:27). After this time Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus (Acts 24:27)
Paul’s Trial before Festus
In Jerusalem, the chief priests made a case against Paul before Festus (Acts 25:2). Their goal was to have Paul brought to Jerusalem so that they may ambush him along the way (Acts 25:3). Festus, however, decided that Paul should be kept in Caesarea and representatives from the chief priests should make their case against Paul there (Acts 25:4-5). In his trial before Festus, after again it came to light that he had done nothing deserving of death (Acts 25:11), Paul made an appeal to appear before Caesar and this appeal was granted (Acts 25:12).
Paul’s Examination before Agrippa
Before Paul was sent to Rome, he appeared before King Agrippa for an examination (Acts 25:26). This was done with the intent of indicating what the charges were against him (Acts 25:27). Agrippa allowed Paul an opportunity to speak (Acts 26:1), and after making his case before the king, the king and the governor among other dignitaries declared that Paul had done nothing deserving of death (Acts 26:30-31). In fact, if Paul had not appealed to Caesar, he could have been released at this point (Acts 26:32).
Paul Handed over to Julius
Paul was handed over to a centurion named Julius as they set sail for Italy (Acts 27:1). Paul was accompanied at least by Luke and Aristarchus (Acts 27:2). They arrived in Sidon the next day where Paul was allowed to be cared for by his friends (Acts 27:3). From Sidon they sailed to Myra in the region of Lycia, past the northern coast of Cyprus (Acts 27:4-5). From Myra they sailed slowly for many days to Cnidus (Acts 27:7).
Paul and Companions are Shipwrecked
From Cnidus they attempted to sail to Phoenix in Crete, to spend the winter there (Acts 27:12), but they were caught in a severe storm that took them off course. On the fourteenth night (Acts 27:27) of their journey from Cnidus, drifting in the Adriatic Sea, the sailors thought they were approaching dry land and dropped anchors for fear of wrecking the ship on rocks (Acts 27:29). Upon spotting dry land (Acts 27:39), they planned to bring the ship to the beach, but disaster struck and the ship was wrecked with the people on board swimming to shore on the ship’s debris. They had come to the island of Malta (Acts 28:1) and the centurion was eager to save Paul’s life (Acts 27:43).
Paul was placed under house-arrest for two years in Rome, from where he proclaimed the Kingdom of God with boldness and without hindrance.Tweet
Paul Finally Arrives in Rome
After a period of three months in Malta, they set sail for Syracuse (Acts 28:11-12). After three days in Syracuse, they sailed to Rhegium and from there they made their way along the coast to Puteoli (Acts 28:13). In Puteoli they found believers who they stayed with for a week before traveling to Rome (Acts 28:14). In Rome, Paul was interviewed by the local Jews (Acts 28:17-22) and they afforded him an opportunity to speak to them, but not all of them were persuaded (Acts 28:24-25). Paul was placed under house-arrest for two years in Rome, from where he proclaimed the Kingdom of God with boldness and without hindrance (Acts 28:30-31). In his time of imprisonment, he even saw many of the imperial guard come to salvation (Phil 1:13). The gospel was spreading, even though some were proclaiming it from false motives (Phil 1:14-18). Paul could rightly write to the Philippians during his imprisonment that what had happened to him was purposed for the advance of the gospel (Phil 1:12).