Pauls Footsteps #388

Footsteps #388. The size of the escort delivering Paul to Caesarea shows the dangerous condition which Paul was in. Paul was mounted on one of the horses provided for him and after the legionnaires returned to Jerusalem the escort rode rapidly through the early morning country. Paul entered Caesarea with the pomp of attendance very unlike the humble guise in which he had left it, amid the entourage of his fellow Christians. They entered the town in broad daylight and so large a body of 70 clacking horses passing through the streets must have attracted many curious eyes. How must Philip and the other Christians of Caesarea have been startled to recognize the rapid fulfilment of their forebodings as they saw the great teacher, from whom they had parted with so many tears, ride through the streets, with his right hand chained to the arm of a horseman amid a throng of cavalry from the garrison of Antonia? That ride, in the midst of his Roman bodyguard, was destined to be the last experience of air and exercise till after 2 years of imprisonment and his voyage to Rome began. 

Commander Lysias wrote to governor Felix. The letter provided Felix with a fair report of the situation. In addition, it shows how Paul was benefited from his Roman citizenship. The Roman law fully protected its citizens, who had the right, for example, to have a legal trial, in which they could appear before the court and defend themselves (Acts 25:16). This included the right to appeal to the emperor in case of an unfair trial (Acts 25:10, 11). Irrespective of Felix’s reputation, he treated Paul in the proper legal manner. After a preliminary interrogation, he ordered him to be kept under guard until the accusers arrived. Think about God’s providence in Paul’s life. How often have you humbly acknowledged God’s providence in your own life despite the trials and suffering you might have gone through?  

Paul was tried before Felix and Drusilla at Caesarea. Felix had never before listened to the truth; and as the Spirit of God sent conviction to his heart, he became deeply agitated. He dismissed Paul for a time. For 2 years no further action was taken against Paul, yet he remained a prisoner. Felix visited him several times and listened attentively to his words. Felix was finally summoned to Rome because of gross wrongs committed against the Jews and he was replaced by Porcius Festus. 

Notice something important here. When Paul gets his opportunity to speak before leaders like Felix and Festus, his goal is not to call out the moral inconsistencies of those who are governing (of which there were plenty). Instead, his goal is to present Jesus in such a way that those listening might become Christians as he is, minus the chains.

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