As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now . . . When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”
As a prisoner of Rome, Paul is now in Caesarea, and the false charges against him come to the court of Governor Felix. Felix knows a lot about the Jewish religion, and he is “well acquainted with the Way”— the followers of Jesus Christ— because his wife is Jewish. Although Felix knows about Judaism and the Way, he is apparently not a follower of God.
In this court scene, it might be easy for us to picture ourselves in the position of Paul and hope that we would be brave like him. At the same time, my heart testifies that I am more like Felix than I care to admit. Felix stops the testimony and teaching of Paul. He is afraid of the truth. Paul has apparently brought the discussion a little too close to the truth about Felix’s life. Hearing about righteousness, self-control, and judgment, Felix calls for a recess.
Why? It was more convenient for Felix to continue living as he wanted to and not to change. He didn’t care about justice; all he really wanted was a bribe, if he could get one. On the other hand, he could keep Paul’s accusers happy if he simply kept Paul in prison.
What can we learn from Felix about how not to live?
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess that we often follow the god of convenience in our lives. We would rather live in self-righteousness than have the righteousness of Jesus. Forgive us, we pray. Amen.
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