23 Then the commanding officer called for two of his commanders. He ordered them, “Gather a company of 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen and 200 men armed with spears. Get them ready to go to Caesarea at nine o’clock tonight. 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.” 25 Here is the letter the officer wrote. 26 I, Claudius Lysias, am writing this letter. I am sending it to His Excellency, Governor Felix. Greetings. 27 The Jews grabbed Paul. They were about to kill him. But I came with my soldiers and saved him. I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were bringing charges against him. So I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found out that the charge against him was based on questions about their law. But there was no charge against him worthy of death or prison. 30 Then I was told about a plan against the man. So I sent him to you at once. I also ordered those bringing charges against him to present their case to you. 31 The soldiers followed their orders. During the night they took Paul with them. They brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the horsemen go on with him. The soldiers returned to the fort. 33 The horsemen arrived in Caesarea. They gave the letter to the governor. Then they handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter. He asked Paul where he was from. He learned that Paul was from Cilicia. 35 So he said, “I will hear your case when those bringing charges against you get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.
This is a passage which can be easy to skip through, after all, it is mainly a historical account of Paul’s movement, under guard, to Caesarea.
However, it engenders in me a profound sense of gratitude. Paul has been tormented, humiliated and persecuted for his faith. Here he is, having broken no laws of the land, and yet he is being imprisoned for his faith in Jesus.
So many of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world are in the same situation – tormented, humiliated and persecuted for their faith. I am so profoundly grateful that it is not me, or my family.
Father God, thank you that I have been born at such a time and in such a place as this. Help me to continue to support those of my fellow believers who have not been so fortunate. Amen
Written by Ps. Jen Irving