Thursday, December 13, 2007

Acts, Chapter 22

How important was Rome? We see here in chapter 22 of Acts that amazing feats were accomplished to get Paul to Rome. Paul had already done a ton of good work to this point, and from his words it is obvious that he was prepared to be martyred when he went to Jerusalem. God had other plans, however. Since Rome was the center of the world at the time God felt that Paul's words would have their most impact from there. Think of it like Paul was a singer. No one truly makes it until they play Carnegie Hall, and Rome was Carnegie Hall.

But first he must get there, and to do that he had to get away from the Sanhedrin. To say these guys were not pleased is an understatement. As I have mentioned before here, they did not like the message Paul was preaching because it threatened their power. If indeed it was true that Jesus was the Savior of mankind, then they no longer held the power they had over the people. Their power was based in the law, and since Jesus came and made the law obsolete, and didn't act the way they wanted Him to act in the process because he didn't exult them, they were upset.

12The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14They went to the chief priests and elders and said, "We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here." – Acts 22-12-15

This is a testament to the power of sin, as Paul used to be a close friend of these people, but because he was converted by Christ Himself they were now prepared to kill him. Imagine how confidant Paul had to have been though because of the message he had received from Christ the night before. Perhaps I act differently on faith, but if Jesus Himself told me that I was going to testify in a certain place I would have all the confidence in the world that I would be delivered to that place. Certainly Paul knew that his earthly chances at getting out of his situation were slim, but he had Christ on his side, and with Him he could not fail.

31So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35he said, "I will hear your case when your accusers get here." Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod's palace. – Acts 22:31-35

As if the Jews did not have enough of a reason to hate Paul, his Roman citizenship here begins the process of saving him and taking him away from their plot. This citizenship offered Paul certain rights that he otherwise would not have had, and because of that he was subject to Roman authorities instead of Jewish authorities. The fact that many Jews viewed the Romans as oppressors made matters even worse. The very people they disliked were helping the person they really disliked.

But once again, the power of God cannot be stopped. This was merely a step in Paul's journey to Rome, and another reminder that God is faithful to His promises. Eventually Paul would be martyred in Rome, but by God he was going to get there for it because God had promised him the chance to testify in Rome. Each step along this journey is God delivering on a faith promise, and we can strength from that because God was with Paul all the way.


  1. Does Paul's impact in Rome signify a shift from a Jewish-based message to a Gentile-based message?
  2. Why would these Jews independent of the Sanhedrin swear an oath to kill Paul?
  3. In your view, were the Centurion guards for or against Paul?

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