Tuesday, November 7, 2023
[The commander in charge of Paul's arrest sent the following letter to Governor Felix in Caesarea along with the armed protection for Paul:]
"This man was seized by some Jews, and they were about to kill him when I arrived with the troops. When I learned that he was a Roman citizen, I removed him to safety. Then I took him to their high council to try to learn the basis of the accusations against him. I soon discovered the charge was something regarding their religious law — certainly nothing worthy of imprisonment or death. But when I was informed of a plot to kill him, I immediately sent him on to you. I have told his accusers to bring their charges before you."
Luke wrote his two books (Luke and Acts) about Jesus and the early church with a special emphasis that Jesus and his early followers in the church did nothing illegal. That emphasis included Luke's account of this Roman commander's conclusion that Paul had done "nothing worthy of imprisonment or death." In fact, the commanders (sometimes called centurions in other translations) were very favorable and some even became believers, as did other soldiers.* Luke wrote his two volumes to a person, or group, represented by the name Theophilus,** which means "God-lover" or "friend of God." We meet this group of people, also called "God-fearing Gentiles," all throughout Acts** — they were Gentiles who had seeking hearts and were searching for God and the truth of his grace. For us as believers two thousand years later, Luke's emphasis should remind us that Christianity isn't anti-government or anti-society or purposefully devoted to illegal activities, but is an open door for those seeking God in every nation, culture, and language to find Jesus (Revelation 7:9-12; cf. Acts 1:8).
* See the first set of the Related Scripture Readings.
** See the second set of the Related Scripture Readings.
Open my eyes, dear Father, to those around me who love you and are seeking the truth about you, but who have not found Jesus. Please guide me, use me, and give me the disposition and words that make your love, grace, mercy, and salvation in Jesus attractive to them. For the cause of Christ, I pray this in the Lord's name. Amen.
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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