Marcus Antonius Felix was the Roman Procurator (holding the same position the more-famous Pontius Pilate once did) from 52-58AD. He was given that position through the recommendation of his brother, Pallas.
According to history, Felix’s cruelty and crude behavior, couple with his susceptibility to bribes, led to an increase of crime in Judea. Under his rule, Judea was marked by internal feuds and disturbances… which he put down with cruelty.
Lysias, the Roman commander accompanying Paul, wrote a letter to Gov. Felix in Caesarea, explaining why Paul was being sent to him.
I. Felix Reviews the Charges against Paul (Acts 24:1-23)
After Paul the apostle was arrested in Jerusalem and rescued from a plot against his life, the local Roman tribune, Claudius Lysias, transferred him to Caesarea, where he stood trial before Felix. Felix had been governor of Judea for 6 years before Paul stood before him. And he would have certainly known about Christians.
– The Defamation of the Prosecution (Acts 24:1-9)
The Jewish high priest went to Caesarea from Jerusalem, accompanied by a Jewish lawyer named Tertullus, who leveled 3 charges against Paul:
* He is a political rebel (v.1-5a)
* He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect (v.5b)
* He is a Temple defiler (v.6-9)
– The Defense by the Prisoner (v.24:10-21)
Paul denied charges #1 & #3. He affirmed charge #2.
– The Deference of the Politician (Acts 24:22,23)
Not willing to offend the high priest, Felix promised to render a verdict at a later date.
II. Felix Refuses the Christ of Paul (Acts 24:24,25)
On at least one further occasion, Felix and his wife, Drusilla, heard Paul speak… and, several times, they called on Paul to talk with him.
III. Felix Requests Some Cash from Paul (Acts 24:26,27)
When Felix was succeeded as procurator, having already detained Paul for 2 years, he left him imprisoned as a favor to the Jews.
On returning to Rome, Felix was accused of using a dispute between the Jews and the Syrians of Caesarea as a pretext to slay and plunder the inhabitants, but – through the intercession of his brother, Pallas, who had much influence with the Emperor Nero – he escaped punishment. Porcius Festus succeeded him as procurator of Judea.
When Paul was called back before Felix, he didn’t defend himself… instead, he shared the gospel!
Don’t assume you have failed in your witness if a person’s conversion isn’t immediately evident. Continue to spread God’s good news regardless of the response.
God’s truth will leave a mark on a person’s life, even if it is rejected.
Sadly, if Felix lived among us today, he would fit in with many church members! His general attitude seems to have been that he was interested in and acquainted with Christianity (“the Way”) but, when push came to shove, he would dismiss it if it wasn’t convenient. And the gospel is often not convenient.
Felix was curious about Jesus… and Christianity… and the benefits he could get from either. But, he wasn’t interested in investing himself in either.
In what ways might you be like Felix? Are there parts of Christianity you choose to ignore… or “tweak”?
You can read the story of Felix in Acts 24:1-27.