Acts 23

Chapter twenty-three begins a series of imprisonments and defenses that Paul made on his own behalf, which continues through the end of the book. The Roman official needed to know exactly what the Jews had against Paul (Acts 22:30), so he brought him before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem (Acts 23:1-11). It turned out that Paul, a Pharisee himself, wisely pitted the Pharisees against the Sadducees on the council. Since Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection, Paul stated that the charge against him concerned his message of a future resurrection. Naturally, the Pharisees sided with one of their own on this, which created such an outburst that the soldiers had to rescue him a third time. They kept him in the Roman fortress overnight to protect him. That night Jesus told Paul that he would indeed go to Rome.

As the Romans tried to figure out what to do with Paul, his nephew heard of a conspiracy to kill him (Acts 23:12-22). Paul had him report this news to the official, who realized this had become a bigger issue than he could handle, so he made preparations to transfer Paul back to Caesarea, where he could stand in a Roman trial before Felix, the governor (Acts 23:23-35). (The exaggeration of the official’s personal heroics in his note to Felix is humorous and something we still see today.) Felix agreed to hear the case when Paul’s accusers arrived.