Up Close and Personal
Read Acts 24:1-27
“Ask these men here what crime the Jewish high council found me guilty of, except for the one time I shouted out, ‘I am on trial before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead!’”
At that point Felix, who was quite familiar with the Way, adjourned the hearing and said, “Wait until Lysias, the garrison commander, arrives. Then I will decide the case.” He ordered an officer to keep Paul in custody but to give him some freedom and allow his friends to visit him and take care of his needs.
A few days later Felix came back with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus. As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened. “Go away for now,” he replied. “When it is more convenient, I’ll call for you again.” He also hoped that Paul would bribe him, so he sent for him quite often and talked with him.
After two years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left Paul in prison.
Felix had been governor for six years and would have known about the Christians (“the Way”—Acts 24:22), a topic of conversation among the Romans leaders. The Christians’ peaceful lifestyles had already proven to the Romans that Christians didn’t go around starting riots.
Paul’s talk with Felix became so personal that Felix grew fearful. Felix, like Herod Antipas (Mark 6:17-18), had taken another man’s wife. Paul’s words were interesting until they focused on “righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment” (Acts 24:25). Now Paul’s words hit too close to home, which made Felix uneasy. Sadly, he remained resistant to God’s conviction.
Many people will be glad to discuss the gospel with you as long as it doesn’t touch their lives too personally. When it does, some will resist or run. But this is what the gospel is all about—God’s power to change lives. The gospel is not effective until it moves from principles and doctrine into a life-changing dynamic. When someone resists or runs from your witness, you have undoubtedly succeeded in making the gospel personal. Continue to pray for that person, asking God to give him or her courage to stop running away, and instead run toward God.