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. 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.” At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. (Acts 24:24-26 ESV)
Felix was the governor of Judea at this time, and he was keeping Paul in prison, as Paul awaited his trial with the Roman tribune who was falsely accusing him. Felix saw this as an opportunity for him to benefit in two ways. Firstly, he wanted Paul to tell him and his wife about faith in Jesus. He was apparently expecting Paul to speak about a life of prosperity. This man wanted a “feel good” message, and seemed to feel entitled to the perfect eternal life found only in Jesus. Secondly, the governor wanted Paul’s money in exchange for freedom.
Certainly Paul recognized both of these motives, and playing into them would have greatly helped Paul win favor with the governor, and probably gain freedom. But Paul had a different motive, a different goal, a different hope. Paul spoke about righteousness, self-control, and judgment. Probably not the hot topics on Felix’s mind, but Paul recognized their importance, and Felix’s need to hear about them. Paul saw an opportunity to preach the Gospel (which is what got him in jail to begin with), and did not shy away from the truth. Paul continually dies to himself. He sets aside what would benefit him personally, and seeks to bring glory to God.
This opportunity presents itself to us daily, and we are to boldly proclaim the Gospel with humility, patience, and gentleness. This may entail defending the faith, working with people through their questions and doubts, or serving others (all done in the love Paul exhorts in 1 Cor. 13). We learn from, and see this in, the meekness and gentleness of our King, who is continually transforming us. By His blood we are saved, and in Him we live.
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