Monday, October 26, 2015
What Frightened Felix
Acts 24:24 Some days later when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak concerning faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he discussed justice, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul, and for that reason he used to send for him very often and converse with him.
Paul ended up being held in Caesarea for two years because Felix did not want to take action. Somehow he felt caught in the middle with Paul who was challenging him personally and the Jews who were challenging him professionally.
Felix was frightened by Paul’s message, one about justice, self-control and the coming judgment. This is an interesting collection of topics on which Paul preached. Over and over again in the word we are confronted with the concept of justice. Justice is important to God and injustice makes him mad. Felix was challenged with the idea of justice because Paul’s imprisonment was unjust and as a ruler awaiting a bribe, the way in which he managed his life and business was unjust. Shining light on this injustice made him extremely uncomfortable and, as we read, frightened.
Stepping further onto some toes, Paul began to speak of self-control. This was not a pleasant subject because people in positions of power were not accustomed to showing self-control. Instead they took advantage of everything and everyone that they could. Whatever they desired, they took.
Finally, Paul began to speak of the coming judgment. All of these behaviors would have consequences. Felix was not accustomed to anyone speaking to him in this way. And now he was genuinely frightened.
Somehow Felix could not maneuver through the situation and so he did nothing. An illegal solution would have suited him just fine but no bribe was forthcoming and so he lived in the state of inaction. In the meantime Paul remained in Caesarea.
Sobering thoughts about justice, self-control and coming judgement. The words from Paul are just as real today. We are confronted with the need seek justice. We live in a world of injustice and as those who reflect the light of Christ we are to shine his light into the areas of injustice — just as Paul did. The result may be the same — people frightened and uncomfortable. But that’s the nature of the gospel. Light is shone into the places of our lives that we wish we could hide. This includes our lack of self-control! The light of Christ not only shines into these cracks and crevices but begs us to engage in action.
What really frightened Felix was that Paul somehow understood what motivated him and was able to speak to those issues, and it touched a nerve. The result was fear.
We don’t have to respond in fear when the light of the gospel shines into the dark places of our lives. Instead we can reach out to our Lord and ask him to transform those spaces by the power of the Holy Spirit. Felix refused the good news and lived in fear. We have a choice as well.
Lord, please help me to respond in your power when you reveal places in my life that need your help. Amen.
If you would like to read more "Reflecting the Image" click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.