After a few short days a party arrives to, simply, persecute Paul. There was the high priest Ananias…some elders and a spokesman…Tertullus. The presence of these three (high priest, elders, and a skilled lawyer) leaves the deck stacked against Paul, for sure.
Tertullus begins with much flattery and deceit:
“We have experienced a lengthy time of peace through your rule, and reforms are being made in this nation through your foresight. Most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this everywhere and in every way with all gratitude.”
(Acts 24.2-3, NET)
The lies are rolling right from the start. Felix was known to be a ruler who had the influence of a king but the heart of a slave ¹. To say that the Jews experienced a lengthy time of peace throughout his rule was, again, far from the truth. Jews were killed under his rule and homes were looted freely. This was certainly not, as Tertullus stated, a time of peace that was acknowledged with all gratitude.
Why then, the flattery?
The case against Paul, and the truth and faith he now represents is so heavily one-sided that we would be forgiven for assuming that the result of this trial is a foregone conclusion.
The same can be so true for you and for me in our day by day lives. Things can build up around us to the point where we feel there is no escape, no victory to be had, no light at the end of the tunnel. We can feel as if the enemy has the deck stacked so strongly against us in all ways possible that there is no chance of success.
In those moments it’s so important to remember the truths of the God we serve. Here are a few to take into your day:
You are from God, little children, and have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(1 John 4.4)
What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and He knows all things.
(1 John 3.20)
I am the Lord, I have no peer,
there is no God but me.
I arm you for battle, even though you do not recognize me.
I do this so people will recognize from east to west
that there is no God but me;
I am the Lord, I have no peer.
I am the one who forms light
and creates darkness;
the one who brings about peace
and creates calamity.
I am the Lord, who accomplishes all these things.
¹ – Historiae 5.9