29 “I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30 And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.”
31 So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 And on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. 33 When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34 On reading the letter, he asked what province he was from. And when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s praetorium.
This letter explains almost nothing, really. As far as a case, the new court that Paul is taken to doesn’t have any good evidence or story to know what to do with him. It’s almost like he is making it harder for the Jewish leaders to accuse Paul, because now they have to travel to a completely different city to bring their case.
And their travel won’t have the escort of 472 Roman soldiers.
The Jewish leaders might love this. Paul is basically imprisoned and the burden of his survival falls on generous friends. They didn’t feed you when you were in prison in those days, but they allowed visitors. You were at the mercy of your visitors to bring you food. Sometimes prisoners died of simple starvation because nobody knew where they were or nobody cared about them enough to bring them food.
So here is Paul, utterly dependent on the Romans to lead him around or free him. He’s dependent on his friends to follow or find him to bring him food. He’s dependent on the Jewish leaders and/or the Romans to eventually decide to have a case and to judge it fairly.
All of this nebulous dependence has been built into him by years of depending on the Lord. Instead of depending on his own wits or his sweet cash reserves (all spent now on those 4 guys’ sacrifices?!), Paul has made a habit of depending on Jesus in every circumstance.
At this point, he’s not going to demand his rights or insist on being honored or fed. He’s endured too much hardship and suffering to insist on luxury at this point. Instead, he surrenders himself to whatever the Lord’s plan is. He knows it will involve suffering because Jesus said it would on the day Paul first believed. He knows it will involve being a witness in Rome, because the Holy Spirit told him so.
From here on, as it has been since chapter 9, the best course is to trust and rely fully on God.
You can get the Daily Bible Readings to your inbox via email every day by subscribing on our home page. Join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter.