Acts 24:2-6 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly. We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him.”
As I read these verses today my heart is filled with much sadness. Paul would later write to the Church in Corinth: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Paul knew that the accusations brought against him by the Jewish lawyer, Tertullus, had no basis in fact, and he knew that the Roman governor, Felix, could easily come to the same conclusion if he looked into it (verses 11-13). Felix himself should have been suspicious of the lawyer’s case in the light of the false flattery with which he was addressed – no Roman Governor would have felt that any Jew had ‘profound gratitude’ for the way they were being treated by the Roman occupation, no matter how nice a particular official might try to be.
I am sad because for nearly 2,000 years Jewish people have suffered the same blindness of mind that led Annas and his fellow Jewish leaders to send Tertullus to accuse Paul before Felix. Praise God that for many Jewish people even today the ‘veil’ that ‘covers their hearts’ when ‘Moses [their Scriptures – our OT] is read’ is ‘taken away’ and they ’turn to the Lord’ (see 2 Corinthians 3:15-16), just as it had happened for Paul himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).
Let us be praying earnestly for the ministries of ‘International Mission to Jewish People (IMJP)’, ‘Jews for Jesus (JFJ)’, and other similar ministries, that many Jewish people might come to see that the countless Messianic prophesies of their Scriptures are fulfilled perfectly in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and they might turn to him in repentance-and-faith, just as Zechariah foretold: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son” (Zechariah 12:10).
– Bruce Christian