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Paul Transferred to Caesarea December 7, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Acts 23:23-35.

Summary: In this passage, the commander of the Roman troops in Jerusalem, Claudius Lysias, ordered two of his centurions to form a detachment that would escort Paul to Caesarea. He then composed a letter to Governor Felix that explained Paul’s legal situation. The detachment completed its mission; Felix then ordered that Paul be kept under guard in the palace of Herod until his trial.

Thoughts: In verse 23, we see that a detachment of 470 soldiers escorted Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea. I am curious as to how the Jews responded when they learned of the existence of that detachment. Were they lying in wait outside the barracks when they saw Paul’s armed escort? Did they only hear about it after Paul had reached Caesarea? Had they mistakenly assumed that Claudius Lysias would grant their request for Paul to appear before the Sanhedrin and only assign several soldiers to escort him? In any case, I am certain that 470 well-trained Roman soldiers would have decimated a band of 40 Jews if they had attempted to ambush Paul.

In verses 25-30, we see that Claudius Lysias wrote a letter to Governor Felix concerning Paul. Calvin offers some insights on this point in his commentary on verse 23:

Here we see God’s providence even more clearly; although the commander’s aim was to stop any riot that he would have to account for before the governor, he was carrying out God’s plan in rescuing Paul. God was guiding this worldly man by hidden influences on his heart.

I consider this passage to be yet another display of the sovereignty of God. We already know that God had determined that Paul would preach the Gospel message in Rome. God then displayed His sovereignty over the Jews by enabling Paul’s nephew to learn of their plot against him. Now God displays His sovereignty over Claudius Lysias – who could have simply allowed Paul to fall at the hands of the Jews. Yet God enabled him to protect Paul by sending him to Caesarea. As modern-day believers, this passage should encourage us (since God is immutable); He is still sovereign over those who wield great influence – even heads of state.

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