Monday, February 17, 2014
Rather Well Informed
Acts 24:22 ¶ But Felix, who was rather well informed about the Way, adjourned the hearing with the comment, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.”
Acts 24:23 Then he ordered the centurion to keep him in custody, but to let him have some liberty and not to prevent any of his friends from taking care of his needs.
Paul had been brought before Felix and the accusers had told him about all of Paul’s bad behaviors; that he had been an agitator and a ring-leader of the Nazarenes. What Tertullus, the lawyer, was not prepared for was that Felix was already “rather well informed about the Way.” There were those in the region of Caesarea who had become Christians including Philip and Cornelius. The accusations against Paul somehow did not measure up to the peaceful and loving followers of Christ that he had encountered. This made him question the reliability of those testifying against Paul and therefore he deferred taking any action. Instead he held Paul, whether for Paul’s own safety, or awaiting some sort of a bribe, and gave Paul freedoms, allowing his friends to take care of him and his personal needs.
Felix was well informed about “the Way” and yet he refused to become a follower of Christ. He is remembered as being a very corrupt official who was willing to take bribes on a regular basis. The reality is that we can be “well-informed” about “the Way” or about Jesus, but it doesn’t mean that we are followers.
How many people who attend Church would be able to say that they are “rather well informed?” I think it would be much of Christianity, but could it also be true that much of Christianity would also be willing to take the bribe? In other words, we may not be that much different from Felix. We may have a lot of head-knowledge about Christianity, we may actually be “rather well informed” but that is simply not enough. Having had knowledge of Christianity did nothing for Felix. He went on living his life in the same way he had always lived and this was contrary to the way in which the Christians would have lived. At least, the true Christians.
We cannot simply live our lives by practicing a perfunctory form of Christianity; by having some kind of head-knowledge. We are called, not to be “rather well informed” but to be entirely absorbed by our relationship with Jesus Christ. Felix had seen the transformation of those who had become a part of the Way. There was something radically different about these people and the way in which they lived their lives. I believe that he recognized that there was a deep commitment to Christ and to a Christ-like lifestyle (something he probably didn’t want to commit to!). If we are to truly be followers of the Way, then we are to abandon ourselves to a deeply committed personal and transformational relationship with Jesus Christ. This is not head knowledge, but it is heart knowledge and a desire to follow Jesus every single day of our lives and in every single circumstance.
Don’t just be rather well informed, but abandon yourself to being completely absorbed by love of Christ. This is our calling and in this we will find our salvation.
Lord, may I know you more today than ever before. Amen.