Claudius Lysias is a man mentioned in the NT book of Acts. Lysias was a Roman Tribune and the commander of the Roman garrison in Jerusalem, commanding between 600-1,000 men. He is called “the tribune” 16 times in Acts 21-24.
I. Paul in Jerusalem (Acts 21:16-40)
When Paul got to Jerusalem, he explained to James and the Jerusalem Church what God had been doing among the Gentiles. In response, he was told some were accusing him of being against the Law of Moses. Paul was advised to shave his head and take a vow in the temple to ease hard feelings of some Jews… which he did.
But, an angry mob still attacked Paul in the temple, accusing him of blasphemy. They took him outside the city gates to kill him.
But, the military tribune, Claudius Lysias, intervened and protected Paul from the mob. Lysias did not know much about Paul… and was surprised when Paul used Greek to ask if he could address the Jewish mob. Lysias, possibly intrigued, gave permission.
II. Paul before an Angry Mob (Acts 22:1-21)
He spoke about his life pre-conversion, his life at conversion, and his life since his conversion.
III. Paul before the Roman Military (Acts 22:22-29)
The Jews were in no mood to accept what Paul was saying… so Lysias decided to take Paul into the barracks nearby to “examine” him.
He ordered Paul to be flogged… hoping this would force Paul to reveal why the Jews hated him so much. Instead, Paul revealed he was a Roman citizen! And Roman citizenship carried privileges. Lysias wanted no part of getting himself in trouble, so he ordered that the Jewish Sanhedrin assemble to sort this out.
IV. Paul before the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 22:30)
Things became so violent, Paul was removed by the soldiers for his own protection. But, that night, the Lord appeared to Paul and spoke to him.
It’s a good thing received this encouragement from God, because things were really getting heated. More than 40 men vowed not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul! A nephew of Paul overheard the plot and reported it to Paul… and to Lysias.
Lysias decided to transport Paul to Caesarea… under the security of 2 centurions, 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 men armed with spears! Talk about security!! All of that to protect/guard 1 man!!!
Claudius write a letter to Governor Felix in Caesarea, explaining why Paul was being sent there… though this letter was not entirely truthful (it put Lysias in a more favorable light than he deserved).
When they got to Caesarea, Paul was imprisoned in Herod’s palace.
Lysias did not know it, but he played an important part in God’s plan for Paul’s life. The night after Paul appeared before the Sanhedrin, God revealed to Paul he would testify in Rome, capital of the world’s most powerful Empire. By referring Paul’s case to Gov. Felix, Lysias unwittingly took the first step in fulfilling God’s plan.
Never underestimate the possibility that YOU might have an unimportant part in God’s plan.
Never underestimate the fact God can use ANYONE – even someone who does not believe in Him – to further His plan.
You can read the story of Lysias in Acts 21:31-33,37; 22:24,26-29; 23:10,15,17,19,22; 24:22.