Felix

Marcus Antonius Felix

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Felix
ACTS 24 COMMENTARY
Acts 24:14-21 Sect

Acts 24:22-27 Felix

Acts 25 Commentary
ACTS 24:22   22 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.”

Who was "Felix" (Acts 24:22)?
Marcus Antonius Felix was originally a slave from Cilicia, Paul's home province, but had gained his freedom, thanks to his brother Marcus Antonius Pallas, who was a freedman well-liked by Caesar Claudius. As Felix' political fortunes rose, so did his reputation for corruption, cruelty and lust. Felix governed Judea from 52 AD to 60 AD with "the power of a king but the mind of a slave," according to the Roman historian Tacitus.

ACTS 24:23   23 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him.

What would have happened if Felix had acquitted Paul and released him?
The Jews would have tried again to kill Paul.

If God wanted Paul to evangelize in Judea, wouldn't He have provided protection for him?
Paul's God-appointed apostleship was to the gentiles - "He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the gentiles" (Galatians 2:8) - and the gentile capital of Judea was Caesarea. For two years (see below), Paul stayed in Caesarea's Roman Praetorium, where he had "liberty" (Acts 24:23), where nobody could "forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him" (Acts 24:23), and where he was protected against the Jewish assassins by Roman guards. Providing protection for Paul appears to be precisely what God did.

ACTS 24:24-27   24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” 26 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him. 27 But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.

Why did Felix adjourn "the proceedings" (Acts 24:22) of Paul's trial instead of rendering a verdict?
Felix said, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case" (Acts 24:22). Since Felix was succeeded "two years" (Acts 24:27) later without having rendered a verdict, either Claudius Lysias, the commander of the Roman garrison in Jerusalem, didn't come to Caesarea, where his legion was headquartered, for two years, which is highly unlikely, or Felix didn't want to render a verdict and used the absence of Claudius Lysias, who had already given his report in writing, as an excuse.

Why wouldn't Felix want to render a verdict?
"Having more accurate knowledge of the Way" (Acts 24:22), Felix most likely knew that Paul was innocent, but didn't want to alienate the people he needed to govern. True to his corrupt nature, "he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him" (Acts 24:26).

What is meant by Felix "having a more accurate knowledge of the Way" (Acts 24:22)?
It could mean that Felix's knowledge of the Way - Christianity - had gained more accuracy as a result of what Paul had just testified (see Acts 24:14-21). In addition, it could also mean that Felix's knowledge of the Way was already more accurate than that of an average Roman and/or compared to the level that the Jews presumed he would have. After all, by this time, Felix already had been governing Judea "for many years" (Acts 24:10), there were Christians in Caesarea (see Peter and Cornelius and Acts 21:8), and since "his wife Drusilla ... was Jewish" (Acts 24:24), he may have taken an added interest in the religious trends among his wife's people.

Who were among the first to hear the Gospel from Paul?
The governor and his wife: "After some days ... Felix came with his wife Drusilla, ... sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ" (Acts 24:24).

How did hearing the Gospel affect Felix?
"Felix was afraid" (Acts 24:25).

Why?
Hearing about "righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come" (Acts 24:25) scared him, as it scares people today.

So what did Felix do?
He told Paul to stop talking - "Go away for now" (Acts 24:25) - not unlike what people say to those who share the Gospel with them today.

What should they do instead?
Repent of what scares them and call upon Jesus to save them. It isn't enough to understand and be scared of the Gospel, for if so, demons, who recognized and were afraid of Jesus, would be saved. To be saved, Jesus Christ must truly be your Master and Lord.

Is He?
 

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