We continue on with another prosecution of Paul, this time before Felix. The high priest, Jewish elders and lawyers all arrived to press the charges against Paul. Tertullus is appointed in a “lead prosecutor” role and he brings the charges against Paul. He starts with speaking highly of Felix. He mentions specific reasons of things the Felix has done to express gratitude. He spokes lies against Paul and others backed those up.
Paul also speaks highly of Felix and says that he grateful that he’s the one that is hearing the case. . Both men address the one holding the decision with honor. They both mention specific things that the are grateful for. When honoring others, be specific, tell them what is it you appreciate about them.
Paul refutes the lies and addresses them. He admits to being a Christ-follower. He explains his point of view and sets the record straight. Felix ended the hearing but kept Paul in custody but did give him some freedom. A few days later Paul had another opportunity to talk about Christ to Felix and his wife Drusilla. When Paul talked about righteousness, self-control, and judgement Felix became afraid and sent him away.
I find that to be an interesting combination of topics. When you are speaking to power you challenge it with God’s power. I heard someone say that Jesus comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comforted.
Righteousness… I’m sure (from looking at Paul’s writings) he challenged the fact of their right standing with God. Our standing doesn’t come from how good we are but from the finished work of the cross. As soon as we trust in our own works and righteousness we are making the work of Christ to no avail.
Self-Control… To tell a governor, who is likely rich beyond common measure, to practice self-control is brave. Self-denial is a vital part of self-control. We have to continue to challenge and reason with people to deny theirselves and to take up the cross.
Judgement… Once again Paul is speaking boldly to challenge the one who holds his life in his hands. How fitting he is reminding him that he will be judged as he stands judged. All our deeds will stand at judgement before the throne of Christ. We would do well to remind people of eternity. Our works here determine our experience, regrets and celebrations there.
Felix keeps Paul in custody and calls for him often. Paul continues to preach the gospel and Felix hopes for a bribe. Felix was replaced eventually but keeps Paul imprisoned to please the Jews.