Sunday, November 5, 2023
[In response to Paul's nephew informing him about the planned ambush of Paul on the way to the ruling council's meeting in Jerusalem,] the commander called two of his officers and ordered, "Get 200 soldiers ready to leave for Caesarea at nine o'clock tonight. Also take 200 spearmen and 70 mounted troops. Provide horses for Paul to ride, and get him safely to Governor Felix."
The commander had authority,* and he used it to get immediate protection for Paul by engaging a very significant number of soldiers for an overnight trip. This huge entourage of protection for one prisoner is Luke's reminder to us that the commander knew this assassination plan was a seriously dangerous matter that needed immediate action and that God was using Rome's commitment to the protection of one of its citizens, even when a prisoner. Rome didn't want any form of mob violence to erupt in Jerusalem. The commander had already seen enough mob violence when he had rescued Paul by arresting him in the Temple area and carrying him to safety.** Paul traveled to Felix in Caesarea as protected as a king to ensure God's promises to Paul would be fulfilled and God's plan would be unstoppable: The Lord would get Paul to Rome!
* See the event in Jesus' ministry with another commander with authority and how his faith was affirmed by Jesus in the first of our Related Scripture Readings.
** See the second of our Related Scripture Readings.
Loving Father, I am thankful for the examples of fair-minded non-believers who will listen to the story of Jesus and who will act with authority to protect your children when falsely accused. I know that today there are many believers in prison and facing persecution who do not have the protection and privileges that Paul had under Roman law because he was a citizen and had honorable people dealing with his arrest. Please bless these brothers and sisters. Deliver them. Keep their faith strong, and help them know they are not forgotten. Use their hardships to influence others to Christ.^ I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.
^ See Philippians 1:12-14 and Philippians 4:21-22 to discover those of the Roman "palace guard" and "Caesar's household" led to Jesus during Paul's imprisonment.
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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