Read the text here: Acts 24:1-27.
Paul is now in the hands of the Roman governor Felix in Caesarea, the provincial capital of Roman Palestine. The High Priest has brought along a hired gun, Tertullus, a prosecuting attorney (literally a rhetor, e.g., rhetorician) to argue the case against Paul. Tertullus follows common legal protocol, first by the expected flattery of the judge and then moving to make his case against Paul. Felix is described by Tertullus as a benefactor to all the people bringing peace and reform to the area. This may be more than a slight exaggeration, for the historian Josephus describes the time under Felix’s rule as turbulent with revolutionaries causing continual unrest (see Spencer, p. 228).
Paul, on the other hand, is depicted by Tertullus as a plague (meaning dangerous to the public welfare), a disturber of the peace, a ringleader of a sect, and a defiler of the Temple. Of primary concern to any Roman governor would be a security threat to the empire, a disturber of the Pax Romani.
The next step in the legal process would be for Felix to interrogate Paul in public. Instead Felix sets aside the trial proceedings and questions Paul privately. Paul disputes any charge that he is the instigator of any trouble in Jerusalem. He worships the God of Israel; he had come to Jerusalem to worship; and to give alms and offerings. Paul has done nothing to disrupt the Temple or threaten the public.
Felix has knowledge of The Way and is a married to a Jewish woman, and for a moment it seems that he might be persuaded to release Paul. But after some delay, his true colors are revealed. Felix does not free Paul, but keeps him imprisoned. His motivation? According to the writer of Acts, a mix of greed, fear, and political gain.
Over the course of two years, Paul and Felix speak together, but Felix is unmoved by Paul’s sharing of the gospel. Felix has knowledge of The Way, but his own personal greed and ambition keep him from embracing the faith. At the end of two years Paul should have been released. According to Roman law a citizen could not be held longer than two years without a verdict. As a last act of political expediency, Felix hands Paul’s case over to his successor. Paul’s ultimate fate remains unclear.