Throughout the New Testament following Christ’s ascension, Paul (formerly Saul) has many adventures. He arrested, detained, and tried several times. One specific account is penned down in Acts 24. Paul had stirred up trouble for the elders in the previous chapter spreading this “gospel.” Ananias and the elders ( including Tertullus) came to the procurator Felix’s court to bring accusations against Paul.
“Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation, in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him.”- Acts 24:2-8
Examine and Inquire.
According to livius.org, “Felix suppressed bands of bandits and the messianic movement.” (http://www.livius.org/am-ao/antonius/antonius_felix.html). Felix was a Roman appointed courtier in Samaria, and he was given military aid to fulfill his occupation. Also, “Felix stimulated outbreaks by injudicious disciplinary measures” (http://www.reocities.com/Athens/oracle/3088/felix.html). Felix was a very political man, and the took the necessary means to keep himself in power. So, when Paul this head of the so-called “messianic movement” was presented to Felix what would he normally do. Crush them! Did He?
No Felix did not.
Later in the chapter, we see Felix having Paul taken car of rather nicely.
“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.” -Acts 24:23
Why Felix? You great suppressor and military ruler. This Paul has caused so much trouble throughout Judea. However, Felix had reasoning behind his peculiar action. “Felix deferred judgment . The excuse he gave for delay was the non-appearance of Lysias, but his real reason was in order to obtain bribes for the release of Paul. He therefore treated his prisoner at first with leniency, and pretended along with Drusilla to take interest in his teaching.” (http://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/isbe/felix-antonius.html). This accusation of Felix detaining Paul for bribes and not to seek out his teaching is confirmed in the Scriptures.
“After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.” – Acts 24:24-27
This rascal. He was holding a fugitive for ransom and bribes. My how times have changed. (Please hear my sarcasm.) Felix just like some politicians today seek out bribes for cases of high interest. It always amazes me the depth of the stories in the Bible, and just how relevant they are today.