23 “Then he called two of the centurions and said, “Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 And he wrote a letter to this effect:
26 “Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 And desiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council. 29 I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30 And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.” (Acts 23:23–30 ESV)
I have often stated that one of the evidences that the Bible is the Word of God is that it presents biblical characters as they really are: humans with the corresponding faults and frailties of sinners. The Roman Tribune Claudius Lysias is no exception.
The tribune wrote a letter to the Roman Governor Felix. Felix was a former slave. As a freedman, he ascended to an influential position in the Roman government under Emperor Claudius in A.D. 52. He served as governor for eight years.
In his letter, the tribune related the facts, in summary fashion, to the governor concerning the Apostle Paul’s arrest and subsequent transfer from Jerusalem to Caesarea. However, regarding his leadership in the situation, the tribune Claudius played loose with the truth.
First, he told the governor that he rescued Paul when he learned that the apostle was a Roman citizen. The truth is, Claudius did not discover Paul’s Roman citizenship until he was about the have Paul scourged (Acts 22:22-29).
Second, Claudius did not mention that melee which occurred with the Sanhedrin. Perhaps he did not want the governor to perceive any lack of law and order under the tribune’s leadership.
Regardless, Claudius did give Felix his opinion that the case had to do with Jewish law, and not a violation of Roman law by the Apostle Paul.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “All that comes to pass is according to God’s will and for His glory.” This was so true in Paul’s life, and so true in our own.
Soli deo Gloria!