The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Acts 24:22-23 shows us yet another instance of the Roman government being charitable to Christians. Notice that Felix did keep Paul imprisoned, but allowed him some freedom and allowed his friends to take care of him. In fact, he didn’t hinder them at all. Paul was in protective custody. It was not the government which was trying to get rid of Paul. It was the Jews.
Felix did this because he was well informed in “the things about The Way.” He knew perfectly well that Paul was speaking of the hope of the resurrection. He knew that Jesus claimed to be the messiah and that Paul was one of the people who believed Jesus’ claims to be true. He also knew that the Christians were not in the habit of being the aggressors. They would make their doctrinal claims and try to persuade people. Those people often responded by trying to drive Christians out of regions or have them arrested or killed.
Though there have been times when Christians have been less than peaceful, for the most part Christianity has been perfectly in line with what Felix understood. Christians have a long and distinguished history of caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, caring for diseases, going to work, paying their bills, and cleaning up messes. What do they get in return? It’s often hostility. For some reason, the hope of the resurrection and the claim that we have that hope only through belief in Jesus is threatening to many people. Yet that’s what we have. That’s Christian practice.
Thanks be to God for those like Felix who will keep Christians in protective custody if they need to, even though they would rather have released them to go back to doing good in this world.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.