Around A.D. 58, accused by the Jews of false preaching, Paul had been held captive by Roman authorities in Jerusalem. When he heard of a plot to kill his uncle, Paul’s nephew informed the prisoner which in turn, sent the young man to the Claudius Lysias, the chief captain, to reveal the Jews’ plan to murder Paul.
“23 And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; 24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” (Acts 23:23)
After he found out of the plot to kill his prisoner, the commander decided to elevate Paul’s case to a higher court by sending the prisoner to Caesarea, where Paul’s case could be tried under the authority of Felix, the Roman governor. To ensure the prisoner’s safety, the chief captain ordered over 450 men to escort Paul out of Jerusalem
“25 He wrote a letter in the following manner: 26 Claudius Lysias, To the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council. 29 I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. 30 And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him. Farewell.” (Acts 23:25-30)
Roman law required lower officials to include a letter explaining the charges when transferring a prisoner to a higher court. In his letter, Claudius Lysias stated the charges against his prisoner were brought on by the Sanhedrin concerning Jewish law. Also, the chief captain cited the fact the prisoner, who was a Roman citizen had not been accused of any crime according to Roman law. The commander finally makes note that to his knowledge, Paul had not done anything deserving of chains or punishment by death.
“31 Then the soldiers, as they were commanded, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 The next day they left the horsemen to go on with him, and returned to the barracks. 33 When they came to Caesarea and had delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 And when the governor had read it, he asked what province he was from. And when he understood that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear you when your accusers also have come.” And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.” (Acts 23:31-35)
The envoy left Jerusalem during the night so the Jewish mod would not know of Paul’s departure. The first leg of the journey to Antipatris was about 40 miles, while the rest of the trip required the prisoner and his detacher to travel another 25 miles to Caesarea.
When Paul arrived at Caesarea, the governor ensured the prisoner was within his jurisdiction, as Felix was governor of Judea. Had the governor found the prisoner to be from another province, he would have surely turned him over to its official. But, Felix found Paul to be from Cilicia, a distant part of Judea, he detained him in his palace’s judgment hall, awaiting on Paul’s accusers. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre