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The Trial Before Felix December 9, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Acts 24.

Summary: In this passage, the high priest Ananias and some of the Jewish elders went to Caesarea to appear before the governor Felix. At that time, the lawyer Tertullus asserted that Paul had:

  • incited Jews throughout the Roman Empire
  • desecrated the temple in Jerusalem.

Paul then defended himself, asserting that he had not:

  • incited the Jews in Jerusalem
  • desecrated the temple in Jerusalem.

Felix considered those competing claims – and did not render a verdict. Instead, he ordered that Paul be kept under guard. During Paul’s confinement, Felix regularly summoned him to discuss the Gospel message.

Thoughts: When I meet Paul in the next life, I hope to ask him about his trial before Felix. What were his thoughts and emotions as he stood before the governor of Judea? How did he maintain his composure as he was surrounded by a host of bloodthirsty Jews? Did the eloquent arguments of Tertullus rattle his confidence concerning his innocence? Did he sense the Holy Spirit working powerfully in him as he responded to the serious charges that the Jews had raised? Did the Holy Spirit grant him a sense of peace in that setting by reminding him of His sovereignty?

In verses 24-26, we see that Felix regularly conversed with Paul regarding the Gospel message. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verse 25:

Felix was hoping to be pleased by Paul’s sermon, as people who are eager for new things willingly listen to wordy arguments…Now he was forced to feel how powerful the Word of God is, which he had never realized and which drove away all his pleasure. Paul, though in chains, spoke about God’s judgment. The man who had power of life and death over him was afraid and trembling as if he were standing before his own judge…

Did Paul battle any feelings of exasperation during his confinement? Did he sense that Felix sought a bribe – and lacked a genuine desire to be saved? Did God grant him the wisdom and strength to overcome his anxiety and hold to his calling as His apostle? Did he actually plant seeds in the heart of Felix that were later watered by another believer? On that note, had Felix actually heard of Jesus of Nazareth before he met Paul? If so, what was his understanding of His person and work?

This passage is yet another example of the sovereignty of God. Here, God proved Himself to be sovereign over:

  • the arguments of the bloodthirsty Jews
  • the practiced arguments of Tertullus
  • Felix – in that he did not do the Jews a favor by handing Paul over to them.

On this last point, God worked in the mind of Felix, enabling him to discern the fatal flaws in the Jews’ arguments. It should also be noted that Paul’s message concerning the judgment of God only frightened Felix – instead of compelling him to order that Paul be executed. As modern-day believers, we should continue to rest on the sovereignty of God – especially in light of current events.

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