Monday 29 August, 2016
24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla. She was a Jew. Felix sent for Paul and listened to him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 Paul talked about how to live a godly life. He talked about how people should control themselves. He also talked about the time when God will judge everyone. Then Felix became afraid. “That’s enough for now!” he said. “You may leave. When I find the time, I will send for you.” 26 He was hoping that Paul would offer him some money to let him go. So he often sent for Paul and talked with him. 27 Two years passed. Porcius Festus took the place of Felix. But Felix wanted to do the Jews a favor. So he left Paul in prison.
I find this a passage of frustrations.
Felix and Drusilla are open to hearing the gospel, but are unwilling to receive it. Felix recognises the danger he is in from God’s judgement, but continues to be corrupt (keeping Paul in gaol in the hope of either a bribe, or the political favour of the Jews). He’s afraid of judgement but won’t accept God’s rescue.
So for two years Paul’s ministry is trapped in futility. If he were not a prisoner he would have shaken the dust from his feet and moved on. But he can’t.
What do you do in fruitless seasons like this?
Paul continues to patiently discuss the gospel with the unresponsive Felix. And eventually that season comes to an end.
Written by David Cornell
I love that Luke records this episode in Pauls ministry. Tough times, waiting on God, taking opportunities even if apparently in vain. Paul continued to trust and honour his Lord Jesus, and maybe this was a period of preparation for the future trials he was to face. If Luke wanted to show Paul as some kind of ministry superhero he could have left this out of his historical account!
Thanks Claire for sharing your thoughts!