22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 23 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.24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. 27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.
ACTS 24:22-27 NIV
Felix is different from the characters we previously shared in this series. I do not consider Felix a hero, but I do want to share about this character because he gave a full play to the role of a cautionary tale. Felix knew about the Way but refused to allow the Way to impact his life.
Felix was the governor of Caesarea, where Paul was kept in custody while he was on trial. Felix was “well acquainted with the Way”. (V22) He was not a Jew, but he knew the Way and had rather accurate knowledge of it. Felix knew Paul was innocent, and he had enough evidence to make the call to release Paul. However, he decided to take the middle ground, and he did not want to identify himself with the gospel and the Christians. When he summoned Paul to speak about his faith in Christ, Paul talked about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come. Felix was afraid. Paul’s message did significantly move Felix to cause him to fear. However, again, Felix refused to accept the Way and the gospel, and he expressed his rejection through delay –
That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you”.ACTS 24:25
Delaying their commitment to Christ is how some people respond to the gospel. Though they feel the nudge in their heart, they would prefer to delay their decision to accept the gospel in another “convenient” time. But it is rejection nonetheless.
As for believers of Christ, how would you choose to respond to the Way, the word of God? Although he is ready to meet you every morning, would you make Him wait and ask Him to come back when you find it convenient? Does God’s word only bring a short moment of touch and impact in your heart? Or are you accepting His word and allowing Him to transform and make a long-lasting effect in your life?
The Lord desires a relationship with us and brings a long-lasting change in our lives. And the secret recipe He told the disciples is this –
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”JOHN 14:21
Knowing the Way is not enough. Having the nudge in the heart and ignoring it after closing the Bible does not impact our lives. It is like skipping a rock in the ocean. When the stone hits the water, it only creates a small ripple. The rock is gone in just a split second, and the water remains calm. Jesus taught us to know His commands and keep them by living them out. And that would create a more prolonged and more significant ripple effect that benefits ourselves and extends to others around us.
Another governor succeeded Felix after two years, and his name was not mentioned again in the Bible. How different would his legacy be had he allowed the Way he knew and the gospel He heard to change his life?!