"... Felix was afraid and answered, 'Go away for now, and when I have a
convenient time I will call for you.'"
Acts 24: 25
I was reading in John 18 this morning, where Jesus appeared before Pilate, and Pilate asked Him: "What is truth?"
Isn't that the universal question of all time? Just what is the truth, amongst all the lies and madness surrounding us? Truth was standing before Pilate, yet Pilate did not have the eyes to see Him, at least at that time.
In looking up cross references, I found the interaction of Paul with Felix in Acts 24. Felix was the Roman governor of Judea from AD 52 to 60, and presided when Paul was arrested there.
The account in Acts 24:24-27 says:
And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you."Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.
Felix was talking to the "chief Apostle," the one who went from cheering the martyrdom of Stephen to being God's man to dispense the truth of the New Testament and the mystery of Christ and the Church.
It appeared that they had a deep discussion about Jesus Christ, but then Felix said he would call again for Paul at a more "convenient time."
Is there ever a "convenient time," really?
The enemy never wants us to have a "convenient time" with the Lord. That's why he sends so many distractions, just at the time when someone might be serious in wanting to know more about the Lord.
It's tragic, really. Because the Lord is a gentleman, He won't force Himself upon us. But who knows if another opportunity to place our faith in Christ will arrive before our moment of death?
Scary and sobering, as it should be.
The Philippian jailer had his "time" when the great earthquake occurred. Before the earthquake, he was a Roman jailor beating his prisoners and only concerned about not letting them escape. After the earthquake, he received the new birth, along with his household, and even had a chance to minister to Paul and Silas.
Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed.And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here."Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"*So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Acts16:22-34
An eternal gulf separates the jailer's response from the response of Felix. He did not put it off for a more convenient time. In a split second, his destiny was changed.
There are many other examples. In Matthew 22, Jesus told the Parable of the Wedding Feast. The king arranged a marriage for his son and sent out invitations...
"But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business." Matthew 22:5*Jesus was offering the Jews the Kingdom, but they refused it, so instead it went to the Gentiles. But it also applies to any of us individually. We can say no or yes every day to the Father's bidding us to fellowship with Him.
In Luke 8: 34-37, the negative response of the townspeople in Gadara after Jesus healed the man filled with many demons displayed an awful choice.
They saw with their own eyes that the man was no longer naked, raging and foaming at the mouth, but rather sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind.
Instead of praising God for what a glorious healing He had performed, they only wanted Him to go away. The demons begged Jesus to be sent into the pigs, who were a great source of business for the townspeople. Money was more important to them than the visitation of God in the flesh.
They missed their golden opportunity.
When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country.Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed.Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.*
What does this have to do with me, one might ask? That was then.
But each day that we are still breathing, fogging a mirror, we have a "convenient time" too. If we do not know the Lord, we personally believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and what He did for us by dying on the cross, and we exchange a destiny of perishing to one of eternal life in heaven with God. (John 3:16)
If we already know the Lord, we only have so much time left on this earth, and He wants us to know Him more and more each day. Like the Apostle Paul said in Philippians,
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14
"... Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts..." Hebrews 3:7