Paul has testified before Felix the governor that his accusers from Jerusalem cannot prove a single change they have made about him. He has stated his claim believing the resurrection of the dead is what is really on trial here:
“But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, ‘When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.’ 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” (Ac 24:22-23).
It appears that Felix may favor Paul, but he is not yet ready to rule in his favor. It also appears that the Holy Spirit may be knocking at Felix’s heart:
“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’ (Ac 24:24-25).
Has Felix encountered the early steps on the spiral staircase to perfect unity with God? Having heard of God’s commands in the Jewish law and having felt his own temptation and disobedience, is he hearing warnings from Paul, while approaching the bad fork in the spiral stairway which leads to disunity and judgment under the wrath of God? Or will he choose the good fork of repentance that leads to the never-ending love of God and restoration and forgiveness and perfect unity with God?
It is decision time for Felix. So what does he do? He delays the inevitable – indefinitely!
Felix sends Paul away because Felix’s real motive has not been achieved – he has been hoping for something else:
“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 Portius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison” (Ac 24:26-27).
Having carried on a charade for more than two years hoping for a bribe, Festus chooses the path that leads to destruction, choosing deception, false motives, and politics over perfect unity with Jesus Christ.
So has Felix simply delayed the inevitable claim of Christ on his heart?
No. Lysias the tribune never appears to testify, and the Jews of Jerusalem never testify either.
Felix has chosen passive aggression by never resolving Paul’s case and by leaving Paul in prison as Festus replaces Felix as governor. Politics has not changed much in our day, has it?
But note carefully that whether the subject is Felix centuries ago or politics in our modern world, leaders who think they can delay the inevitable should study the prophet Isaiah, whose prophecies about Israel came true not long after this delay was put into place.
Isaiah also prophesies about our times, and we cannot delay the inevitable judgment of God either.
But we can choose the good fork on the spiral staircase to perfect unity. Ultimately we will watch, from a place near the throne of Jesus, the inevitable judgment happening to all leaders who practice disunity from God.
Paul will be there with us, too! Felix will not.