Once Claudius learned about the plot against Paul, he sent the Apostle to Caesarea – to the Governor Felix. Paul told his story again…
25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I find time I’ll call for you.” 26 At the same time he was also hoping that money would be given to him by Paul. For this reason he sent for him quite often and conversed with him. 27 After two years had passed, Felix received a successor, Porcius Festus, and because he wished to do a favor for the Jews, Felix left Paul in prison. Acts 24:25-27 (HCSB)
Not every story is a happy ending. Here, Paul languished in prison for two years, apparently for no other reason than Felix’s desire for a bribe. Then, when he could have been released, Felix left him in prison so that he might gain favor with those in the private sector he would soon be re-entering. Like Joseph in Potiphar’s prison so many years before, Paul was forgotten, but refused to trade his integrity for his freedom.
Sometimes we read these Bible stories and conflate them in our minds. For example, Paul’s Caesarean imprisonment is only one chapter in the Bible (Acts 24), but it took two years of the Apostle’s life.
In our Sunday study of 1 Peter, I wonder how long the church had been suffering for their faith? Peter doesn’t say: did it just start, or had they been suffering for years? In the book of Revelation, how long will it take the anti-Christ to gain control of the world? Will it be quick or will it take years? Since we don’t know, that’s why (as we’ll see this Sunday) God continually reminds us to “Be alert!” Be ready for those “sudden” changes in the world-landscape…and don’t get lulled to sleep by the slow creep of sin.
8 Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour (1 Peter 5:8, HCSB).