Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Acts 24 -- Paul and Felix

The trials of Paul continue here in chapter 24. Now before Felix, the arguments against Paul are levied by the religious leaders. When it comes time for Paul's defense essentially Paul calls them all liars, but he does it in a very nice way. Felix wanting to make a profit off the situation waits to make his judgment. We are told for over two years Felix would call on Paul to teach about the Way, expecting Paul would bring a bribe. Non such bribe showed up, yet Felix continued to call. We end the chapter with Paul in prison and Felix going on to the next thing and Porcius Festus taking his place.

It might seem like this is an inconsequential chapter that could have been left out of the story. While we could still get the gist of the story without this episode, we do learn further about Paul's resolve and his unwillingness to use the methods of the earthly kingdom. Paul continues to tell his story and more importantly the account of Jesus Christ. The religious leaders tell created stories to try and push the buttons of the earthly kingdom, Rome. Paul is using Rome to gain a greater and greater audience. The religious leaders are trying to use Rome to further their agenda and riches. Paul is God focused and the religious leaders are power focused, I wonder who will win?

This continues to raise the question of how those who follow Christ interact with the government. In our day and age we would be trying to make sure followers were elected to the right offices so change could be made and the right legislation could be brought to the table. The only problem is that is not how Jesus seemed to work. Jesus was a rabbi, a recognized teacher and authority of the law. He could have positioned himself on the Sanhedrin in order to generate influence. Instead the plan was to live so distinctly different, and that would generate influence. It was clear to Felix that Paul was not going to bring a bribe, yet he continued to call him to hear more about Jesus. Paul lived differently, yet he gain influence.

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