Felix: The Procrastinator

David Bast

Read: Acts 24:10-27

When I get an opportunity I will summon you. (v. 25)

When Paul arrived in Caesarea, Felix was the Roman governor. His name means “happy” or “lucky,” but Felix probably wasn’t overjoyed with his assignment. Judea was difficult to govern. The big problem there was the Jews, an independent-minded people who quarreled a lot over religion.

Felix got to see this first-hand when he held a hearing on Paul’s case. The high priest accused Paul of causing riots and being “a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes” (v. 5). The second charge was true; the first was false. The upheavals that followed Paul throughout his missionary journeys were caused by his enemies’ hatred of the gospel. To say that Paul was responsible for them was to blame the victim, not the instigators. Paul was able to refute all the criminal charges against him with a clear and straightforward defense.

Felix didn’t condemn Paul, but he didn’t release him either. He held Paul in custody, while continuing to speak with him. Felix had “a rather accurate knowledge of the Way” (v. 22); in other words, he didn’t need more information about Christianity. What he needed was to make a decision about it. When the apostle talked about urgent things like sin and judgment, Felix dismissed him: “When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” Felix is a spiritual procrastinator. He thinks that maybe later on would be the time to respond to the gospel.

But somehow “later on” never comes. —David Bast

Prayer: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Ps. 95:7-8).