10 And when the governor (Felix) had nodded to him to speak, Paul replied:
“Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. 11 You can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem, 12 and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, 15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man. 17 Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings. 18 While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia— 19 they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, 21 other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.’”
Felix (Marcus Antonius Felix) already heard of the plot to kill Paul in the Acts 23. He was aware of the tensions between Paul, the Jews, and an substantial increase of people following the Way. For two years, Felix kept Paul as prisoner and spoke with him on many occasions. Felix was known to be corrupt and sought bribes, but Paul was clearly not offering bribes. Paul was now a missionary, tent-maker, and former aspiring Temple official with a good Temple education and good Temple name.
Felix is a historical figure with a a lot of sway - the heroes people were interested in before mass media were the politicians. They were all people talked of in their day and were famous. Felix's father was a Greek slave to Emperor Claudius and his 1st wife, Antonia Minor (daughter of Mark Antony / Marcus Antonius). His father was freed, Felix and his brother held fantastic Empire jobs for sons of a slave/freedman.
Felix was a rock star on jet pack ice skates. Fame touched this man from all directions. Felix's first two wives were both named Drusilla and both were very exalted noble women politically. Drusilla, wife 1, was a cousin to Emperor Claudius. Emperor Claudius' 4th wife was Felix's niece Aggripina Minor (who had a little nephew named Nero that Emperor Claudius became very fond of and adopted.) Druscilla, wife 2, was the daughter of King of Judea Herod Agrippa. These are the faces that would have filled the grocery store glossy magazines, if that had existed. Instead they had coins. When Mount Vesuvius erupted, his second wife and child were about the only 'famous' people who died while visiting Pompeii. When Felix was hauled to Rome to face charges of bad government, he didn't have a lot to worry about - Felix's brother was the Emperor Nero's man.
The Scripture ideas and discussions between Acts 23 and Acts 25 are really pretty entertaining. False accusations near the Holy of Holies (where the Ark of the Covenant does not reside), murder plots, nephew saves Paul by telling Centurion, Centurion pulls out the big Calvary to save Paul, they all know of the plot to kill Paul along the road to Jerusalem. Everyone pretends not to know. Felix asks Paul if he'd like to go to Jerusalem, while moving Paul to extensive guard to Herod's praetorium.
If you aren't interested, clean out your ears, wipe the sleep from your eyes - this isn't just adventure, but huge politics, the beginnings of Jesus Christ sweeping the continents without the benefit of mass media - people are interested in this Jesus of Nazareth. In 16 years, the Emperors of Rome are going to be very uncomfortable - doing and saying foolish things.
It is already starting here... the Temple is getting ready to lawyer up with High Priests, the Governor, Lysias the tribune, just to name a few. Delay of judgment to avoid being the enemy of some important factions.
24 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” 26 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. 27 When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
Not just the big doings - look at the people involved. 'Paul - would you like to go to Jerusalem?' 'Why no, I believe I will go in the opposite direction.' The tremendous will of God is being accomplished just as easily as a conversation.
What was this Felix up to? Felix' history involves governing, a vague reference to putting down another Egyptian messiah claim. Felix feels Paul can help him to control the factions swirling around this Middle East situation. Paul has worn some powerful hats and Felix wants to know what Paul knows.
Felix has plans, Paul has plans, but God's plan is moving forward.
Two Years of conversations........It's interesting to remember Felix and the important question. Paul speaks of it immediately. What becomes of the people who have so much to do, so many opportunities, what is the real meaning? The question of 2,000 years ago is the question we ask ourselves of the people we would like to know the saving love and salvation Jesus Christ offers today.
And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”
Jesus also dealt with long-term problems of faith and belief with a lot of the truth and grace the Father bestowed upon His Son.
Mark 9:21-2721 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.