Lawyers, Bribes, preaching to Governors!
Scripture reading for July 6th: Acts 24:1-27
In reading today’s passage, there is a lot of drama! The high priest, Ananias and some of the elders from the Sanhedrin traveled down to see Felix with a lawyer named Tertullus. Tertullus and the Jews accused Paul of being a troublemaker and desecrating the temple. The governor asked Paul to speak in his own defense. Paul refuted the charges by stating that the only thing behind the charges was his own stand for the resurrection of the dead. (Acts 24:19-21) Felix postponed making a decision and had Paul taken away and kept under guard.
Some time later Felix and his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess, sent for Paul and listened as he preached about Christ Jesus and the coming judgment. Felix came under conviction and cut Paul off from speaking any more. “That’s enough for now!” You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.” (Acts 24:25b-26) This went on for two years until Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus. Felix was a hard man who looked out for himself. His power and position allowed him to receive bribes and extort money for favorable rulings! His Jewish wife made it easy for him to favor the Jews and keep Paul in jail. The “convenient” time to hear more about Christ never came in his life that we know of! The world has not changed much!
Paul shared the Gospel where ever he was placed by the Lord. God opened doors through imprisonment that Paul would never have had otherwise. He lived with integrity, in spite of pressure to work the system through bribes. He was his own lawyer, listening to the Holy Spirit for what to say when taken before judges, governors or kings. God provided for him daily and spoke encouragement to him when it was needed. Paul knew he was in the center of God’s will, even if it did not look like it to those outside the faith.
We should be encouraged by Paul’s example! We have the same Holy Spirit living in us today. As persecution comes from our stand for Christ, He will guide and comfort us. The joy of our Lord will be our strength!