Built by Herod the Great as his summer palace (22 B.C.), Caesarea Maritima or "Caesarea by the Sea" became the capital of Roman government in the region for 500 years. It's harbor is a famous engineering feat. But the location of the city would not have been possible without another architectural marvel, the amazing aqueduct which brought water from a spring at the base of Mount Carmel over 10 miles away.
Today, visitors can still see glimpses of the great Roman city of Caesarea in the ruins of the palace, aqueduct and the huge ocean-side theatre.
But for Christians, Caesarea also holds a special significance as a cradle of the early church. We remember that Paul spent two years in prison here (Acts 23:22-26:32). Peter came here on many occasions (Acts 10; Act 12:19).
26: And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
27: But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
28: And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
29: And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.
30: Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
31: Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
1: There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
2: A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.
3: He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
4: And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
5: And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
6: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
7: And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;
8: And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
9: On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
10: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11: And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
13: And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
14: But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
15: And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
16: This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
17: Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,
18: And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
19: While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
20: Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
21: Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
22: And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
23: Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
24: And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
25: And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
26: But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
27: And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
28: And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
29: Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
30: And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
31: And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
32: Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
33: Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
34: Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
36: The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
37: That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
38: How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
39: And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
40: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
41: Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
42: And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
43: To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
44: While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45: And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46: For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48: And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
19: And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.
20: And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country.
21: And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.
22: And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
23: And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
24: But the word of God grew and multiplied.
22: And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.
8: And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
9: And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
10: And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
11: And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
12: And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13: Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
14: And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.
15: And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.
12: And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
13: And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.
14: And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.
15: Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would inquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.
16: And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.
17: Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.
18: So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee.
19: Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me?
20: And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would inquire somewhat of him more perfectly.
21: But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.
22: So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me.
23: And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;
24: And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.
25: And he wrote a letter after this manner:
26: Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting.
27: This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.
28: And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council:
29: Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds.
30: And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell.
31: Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.
32: On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle:
33: Who, when they came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him.
34: And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia;
35: I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judgment hall.
24:1: And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.
2: And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence,
3: We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
4: Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words.
5: For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
6: Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.
7: But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,
8: Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him.
9: And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.
10: Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:
11: Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.
12: And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:
13: Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.
14: But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
15: And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
16: And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
17: Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.
18: Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.
19: Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me.
20: Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council,
21: Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.
22: And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.
23: And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.
24: And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
25: And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
26: He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.
27: But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left
25:1: Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
2: Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
3: And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.
4: But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
5: Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.
6: And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
7: And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.
8: While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
9: But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?
10: Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
11: For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.
12: Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
13: And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.
14: And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix:
15: About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.
16: To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
17: Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth.
18: Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed:
19: But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
20: And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.
21: But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.
22: Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.
23: And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.
24: And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
25: But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.
26: Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
27: For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
26:1: Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:
2: I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
3: Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
4: My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
5: Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
6: And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:
7: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
8: Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
9: I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10: Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
11: And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
12: Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
13: At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
14: And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
15: And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
16: But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17: Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18: To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
19: Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
20: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
21: For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.
22: Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
23: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
24: And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
25: But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
26: For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
27: King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
28: Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
29: And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
30: And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them:
31: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds.
32: Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.
Caesarea - Go and preach to all nations
Surely many mighty works and testimonies to Christ occurred at Caesarea. One cannot help but reflect on Paul's voyages from Caesarea and the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles. Remember the words that were spoken concerning Christ by Simeon to Mary and Joseph in Luke 2. Truly Christ is the light unto all nations.
25: And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26: And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27: And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28: Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29: Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31: Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32: A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33: And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34: And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35: (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.