by Paula Harrington
They were living, in all likelihood, in a beautiful beach house on the coast. They were rich, influential, admired, and used to getting everything they wanted. They had it all or, at least, they thought they did.
She was born in the 30’s into a powerful and corrupt family. The man she was supposed to marry early in life backed out of the impending nuptials, so her brother arranged for her to marry another. That marriage didn’t last long as she left him for another. /1 She was a princess who became a Queen. Her father was Herod Agrippa I and she was Drusilla.
He was a freedman of Emperor Claudius I. He was sent from Rome to Judea to serve as procurator from A.D. 52 to 60. History tells us that he reveled in cruelty and lust, and wielded the power of a king with the mind of a slave./2 He seduced her away from her husband and from her learned the Jewish customs. He was Felix.
Enter the Apostle Paul (Acts 24).
Brought to Caesarea, a port city built by Drusilla’s grandfather, Herod the Great, Paul stood before Felix on charges ranging from stirring up dissension to desecrating the temple. Days later Paul again was able to speak to Felix about his faith in Christ and this time, the procreator was accompanied by his wife.
The exact words of Paul aren’t recorded in the second meeting with Felix, however, we do know that he preached righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come and it was after this that Felix became terribly afraid.
Righteousness is “our conduct which follows the will of God and is pleasing to God.” We cannot be righteous on our own. We need God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness, but most importantly, we need his Son, in order to live righteously before him. Drusilla and Felix needed to hear about God’s righteousness as much as we need to hear about it and preach it today.
In our worldly, me-centered culture, self-control is not a popular custom. We are so accustomed to getting what we want, that we seldom think of denying ourselves much of anything and sadly, some believe that God wants them to be happy even if it means sinning in order to achieve that happiness.
We will all face the judgment of God on that glorious day, /3 but Christians will have the advantage of having the great Advocate on their side. /4 Sadly, Felix was no different from many today who hear, believe, and tremble, yet fail to completely obey the Word of God.
One could wonder if anyone had ever spoken to Felix and Drusilla the way Paul did in Acts 24. Paul got personal. He didn’t sugar-coat Felix’s situation or make excuses for him due to his fame and fortune.
Paul spoke of his faith in Christ. He spoke to Felix and Drusilla about righteousness, self control and the judgment that they would face. He met Felix and Drusilla where they were.
Like the Apostle Paul, we should never be afraid to preach Jesus at any time and to anyone.
1/ Reilly, W. (1909). “Drusilla,” in The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved September 23, 2008 from New Advent: http://tinyurl.com/3p53wh
2/ Bryant, T. Alton The New Compact Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed, 1967
3/ Hebrews 9:27
4/ I John 2:1