“Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings. While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia— they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me. Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.’”
But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.”
Paul is giving his ‘defense’ before the Roman rulers of the region and the Jewish leaders that are accusing him — today. They aren’t the same ones that brought accusations while he was in the temple and they were busy starting a riot.
In all of his speeches, Paul does a great job of presenting himself, defending himself, and explaining himself without accusing or degrading others. You can’t help but wonder if he always remembers his own conversion. One day he was breathing out murderous threats and arresting and hurting men and women. The next day he was blind and helpless but on his way to being a part of Christ.
Whenever Paul talks, he does it with the idea in his mind that any of his hearers might repent and follow him with all of their hearts and soul. If you are suddenly brothers, you don’t want to apologize for being a jerk when you were enemies.
The awesome comment by Luke in this is that Felix has “a rather accurate knowledge of the Way.” What does that mean? Where did that come from? How does he know?
We don’t have any of those answers. All we have is evidence that there is somebody in power who is able to help Paul be protected and receive some justice that Paul wouldn’t have otherwise received.
The best part of this is that it isn’t done with deceit or without any unethical trickery. This isn’t a corrupt favor, this is simply a person in power looking after someone being accused unjustly.
And part of that involves putting off the trial and giving Paul a lot of liberty while imprisoned. Outsiders would have to bring Paul food, but they could also bring him guests so he could teach and materials to write letters. This favor from Felix would enable the writing of most of the New Testament letters. That’s right! While Felix didn’t have the experience, time, inspiration, knowledge, or passion to write the New Testament, he had a chance to create a place for Paul to do it.
Sometimes God uses us to strengthen others to do the great works. We don’t need to have our names on it, but God has His name written all over us.
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