The Apostle Paul is standing before Governor Felix in Caesarea. He has been accused of being a troublemaker who’s been stirring up unrest among the Jews all over the world, a ringleader of the Nazarenes who tried to desecrate the Temple. (Acts 24:5-6)
In Acts 24:10, Governor Felix has asked Paul to defend himself against these charges. Paul has to rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to get his point across and now he’s being called on to defend himself in a Roman court of law. Paul knows he’s not going to die in Caesarea because the Lord told him that he’s going to testify in Rome.
Acts 24:10b “Paul replied, ‘I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense.’”
Here’s Paul’s defense.
Acts 24:11 I can call hundreds of witnesses who will verify my behavior.
“You can easily verify that over twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.”
Acts 24: 12-13 There is no evidence and no proof.
“My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the Temple or anywhere else in the city. And they cannot prove to you the charges they are making against me.”
Acts 24:18-21 “I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the Temple courts…There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance…Those who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin – unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.
My first trial ended in a hung jury. There is still no proof and no evidence. The prosecution has failed to prove its case. The defense rests and I move that all charges be dismissed.
Antonius Felix was a former slave who became the governor of Judea. History records that he got the job because his brother was a friend of Claudius Caesar who was Emperor at the time. It certainly wasn’t because of his superior leadership skills. History has also described him as a corrupt official.
Acts 24:22a“Then Felix who was well acquainted with the way, adjourned the proceedings.”
“Felix … was well acquainted with the Way.” This wasn’t the first time Felix had met someone like Paul or heard the things Paul was saying. He knew what these people believed and he knew about this Jesus they believed in. Felix has to decide who’s telling the truth.
Governor Felix is a Roman official. In order to have that position, you have to pledge allegiance to Caesar. Caesar must be your god. Right now he’s dealing with people who all claim to believe in the same God, but they’re telling two completely different stories.
I believe there are people today who are trying to decide what to believe and who or what they should believe in. They’re hungry and thirsty for spiritual truth. If they turn to the church to try to find those answers, they’re going to hear two conflicting messages.
One message being preached in this country today is: “Don’t take the Bible literally. It was written by men and is full of contradictions and errors. Just try to be a good person and if there is a heaven, you’ll get there.”
But there is also a message being preached today that says: “The Bible is the inspired word of God. Every word in it is true. Whoever believes and trusts in Jesus for the forgiveness of sin will not perish but will receive everlasting life. The only way to God and to heaven is through Jesus.”
Because the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, is actively revealing the truth, anyone who is genuinely searching for truth will recognize it when they find it. They’ll know it when they hear it. Felix knew what the truth was. He just didn’t have the courage to act on it.
Acts 24:22b-23 “’When Lysias the Commander comes,’ he said, ‘I will decide your case. He ordered the Centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs”
Commander Lysias wasn’t coming and Felix knew it. But there was something inside him that wanted to keep hearing more. That’s the compelling draw, the tugging of the Holy Spirit reaching out to Felix.
Acts 24: 24a “Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla.”
Drusilla was the daughter of King Herod Agrippa I. She became married to a king at the age of six. Felix seduced her when she became fifteen and lured her away from her husband.
Acts 24: 24b “He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus.”
Felix has another opportunity to hear the gospel and this time Paul lets him have it right between the eyes. Paul speaks directly to Felix’s sinful condition. Because of its length, I think we’ll save that for next time. I hope you are finding these teachings to be helpful and worth reading.
I’m leaving California on Friday (8//14) and moving back to Pennsylvania. There may be some disruption over the next two weeks as I struggle to hook up to the internet. Please be patient. We’ll get there eventually. Please stay in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.