June 22, 2021
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.
Felix is looking for a bribe, but at the same time we see that Paul is talking about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come. I suppose we can see why Felix was afraid and sent Paul away. He is certain Paul has what he wants, he is just wrong in thinking that it involves a bribe. Paul has the hope for life now and forever, but Felix is fixed on the temporary of now.
We see two years pass in these few verses of Acts. Just the pattern of Paul being called for by Felix and Paul explaining faith to Felix. And there is a sadness to the picture. Not for Paul, but for Felix. All this time hearing how he can have life and be freed from his selfish desires. But Felix does not respond, he does not hear the grace. He only looks for what he wants.
It is tough when we hope and hope for someone to finally respond God’s grace. Paul doesn’t give up. He keeps coming back up, although he might not have much of a choice, and he speaks of faith to Felix. Paul kept hoping that Felix would respond and follow Jesus as well. But we never see it. Maybe past this, in another place, as another shows him faith and he can still remember the words from Paul.
It is not the patience of Paul that is tested. And we see from many places that God has even greater patience. Jonah knew it so well he did not want to go to Nineveh. He knew God would be gracious. And whether or not Felix finally responds to God’s grace, there is no time limit, except for the end. As long as we have breath and life in us we hold out hope for many around us to respond to grace as well. So we patiently continue to live in grace and speak of grace as we can.
Song – Your Grace is Enough
O Creator and Mighty God, you have promised strength for the weak, rest for the labourers, light for the way, grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love. O Creator and Mighty God, help us to continue in your promise. Amen.