Apostle Paul’s Arrest, A.D. 57

The Apostle Paul’s Arrest in Jerusalem and his Travel to Rome:

Icon of The Apostle Paul

In A.D. 57, the Apostle Paul completed his Third Missionary Journey. He arrived in Jerusalem (for the 5th time since his conversion to the faith) to report the events of his mission to the church in Jerusalem and to deliver financial support for them which he had collected along the way.

While Paul was performing the Jewish purification rite at the temple in Jerusalem he was assailed by the Jews, who “stirred up all the people and laid hands on him.” The Jews accused Paul of defiling the temple by bringing gentiles into it. He was seized and dragged out of the temple by an angry mob. He narrowly escaped being killed when he was rescued by a Roman commander of the cohort (centurion), arrested Paul, and put him in chains and took him to the tribune, Claudius Lysias (Acts 21:26-36). Paul invoked his rights as a Roman citizen and he was allowed to address the Jewish Sanhedrin to defend himself.

The next day a plot to kill Paul was disclosed and the Roman authorities speedily removed Paul from Jerusalem and took him under heavy guard to the safety of Antonius Felix the Roman Procurator of Judea (i.e., the governor) at Caesarea Maritima. Paul was imprisoned there in Herod’s praetorium for two years. Felix allowed Paul some freedom and permitted Paul’s friend to visit him there.

In A.D. 59, Porcius Festus replaced Felix as the Roman Procurator of Judea. Paul then plead his case before King Herod Agrippa II, who according to the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, lived in an incestuous relationship with his sister, Berenice (Acts 25:13-32).

Late in A.D. 59 Paul, accompanied by Aristarchus from Thessalonica and Luke the Evangelist and in the custody of the Roman centurion Julius embarked on a 2,000 mile voyage to Rome. They stopped at Sidon (in modern day Lebanon), and then sailed onto Myra on the south western coast of Anatolia, where they changed to a larger ship (a 180 foot grain ship with a crew of 276). They then sailed to Salome in eastern Crete, and then to Fair Havens in southern Crete. They then continue westwards across the Mediterranean through various stormy seas and they got lost. They continue on westward using all their maritime skills to survive the storm including using sea anchors and jettisoning their cargo until they wrecked the ship on a reef off the coast of Malta. All were able to swim safely to shore. They then wintered on Malta and enjoyed the hospitality of Publius, and leading citizen of Malta.

Illustration of the Apostle Paul’s Shipwreck on Malta

In the Spring of A.D. 60 Paul and his companions and Julius left Malta and sailed to Syracuse (in south eastern Sicily), and then onto Rhegium (in south western Italy) and then through the Straight of Messina up the Tyrrhenian Sea to the port city of Puteoli in the gulf of Naples. From there Paul traveled over land along the Via Campana to Capua and then along the Via Appia (a.k.a.: the Appian Way) to Rome.

The Apostle Paul’s Arrest & Voyage to Rome

Paul remained in Rome under “house arrest” for two years. During that time he conducted his appeal to the Emperor Nero and he preached the faith passionately, and he wrote his Letter to the Philippians, the Letter to the Colossians, to Letter to Philemon, and to the Letter to the Ephesians, and Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke.

In late A.D. 62 Paul was released from his imprisonment, however he remained in Rome. In A.D. 66 Paul is again arrested in Rome (by the order of Emperor Nero), and he was tried and then martyred there.