Don’t forget: Luke-Acts was written with one stated purpose in mind: to assure the reader that the story of Christianity he had learned was, in fact, the truth.
The story of Paul before Felix is one of those stories that would get the attention of first century people. Everybody who was anybody knew Felix. Felix was a somebody.
It hadn’t always been that way. He was born a slave. It hadn’t always been that way. His ancestors had been royalty in Greece. His brother Pallas was a slave in the house of Mark Anthony’s daughter. Felix was a boy slave in the house of Emperor Augustus and grew up with Claudius, who later freed Felix when he himself became Emperor.
Felix knew what it was like to be a slave and poor. Both backgrounds often make for horrible freedmen. You’d think the experience would have made him sympathetic to those of that class, but not so. The Roman historian Tacitus says Felix exercised the power of a king with the spirit of a slave. Felix’ brother went on to become Secretary of the Treasury and one of the richest, most powerful, men in Rome – and Felix was always jealous. In an effort to get money for himself, he hoped the Church would give him a bribe to release Paul (Acts 24:26). The bribe never came.
Two years passed during which time Paul was called before Felix numerous times to talk. Paul took the occasion to reason with this man of uncontrolled passions, giving him lessons on righteousness, self-control, and warning him of the judgment to come. Felix put off any response to the gospel. At the end of two years, Felix’ irresponsible behavior was called into question by Claudius and Felix was removed from his post, banished, and died, lost, in obscurity. His time to repent came and went. His is a specific case of “non-conversion.”
How often do we hear the message of the Lord and put off changing until a “more convenient season”?
Beware. That season may never come.