325 - An Assassination Plot
NOVEMBER 21 - Nº 325 Acts 23:11-35
Following the fiasco in front of the Sanhedrin (see #324 - November 20), Paul was sent back to the Roman barracks. He must have been very discouraged. He was doing everything God asked him to do, yet he was still a prisoner. In the darkness that night, Jesus personally visited him. But instead of setting Paul free (as an angel had done before—see #306 - November 2), the Lord stood beside him and comforted him. “Don’t be discouraged,” Jesus said. “You have been my witness in Jerusalem, and now I want you to testify for me in Rome!” Paul realized that no matter how bad things got, God was always with him. And God still had more work for him to do! Meanwhile, more than 40 Jewish men were plotting to kill Paul. They took an oath not to eat or drink anything until he was dead. The next morning, they conspired with the chief priests and elders. “We need you to go to the Roman commander and ask him to let you examine Paul again,” they schemed. “Tell him you need to get more information from him. When the guards bring him out of the barracks, we will attack and kill him.” Somehow Paul’s nephew overheard this plan and rushed to the barracks to inform his uncle of the plot. Paul called for one of the centurions and said, “This young man has something important to tell the commander.” So, the soldier took Paul’s nephew to the Roman leader. The commander led the boy by the hand to a place where they could be alone. “What is it that you need to tell me?” he asked. The young man explained exactly what he had overheard and revealed that the plot was supposed to be carried out the next day. “Don’t give in to them,” he boldly urged. “There are more than 40 men who are planning to ambush and kill my uncle.” After listening to everything he had to say, the commander dismissed Paul’s nephew and told him not to share this information with anyone else. Then the commander assembled a group of guards that included 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 more men with spears. That night at nine o’clock, Paul was put on a horse. The entire military entourage left for Caesarea, the Roman capital of Judea. There Paul would be under the protection of Felix, the governor. The commander wrote a letter for them to take along. It said, “The Jews have already tried to kill this man, but I rescued him because he is a Roman citizen. I brought him before their ruling council to see why they were so upset. I found out that their accusations are only based on religious differences. There is nothing he has done that is worthy of death or even imprisonment. Now I am told that there is a plot to assassinate him, so I am sending him to you. I have also sent word to his accusers that if they have a case against him, they must bring it before you.” When Paul arrived in Caesarea the next day, Felix read the letter. He agreed to hear the case against Paul and ordered that Paul be kept under guard until his accusers arrived.
God is in control of every situation we face. He will go to great lengths to relieve our fears and bring us peace—even though He sometimes chooses not to change our circumstances. When we realize that He is present with us every second, we are able to face tough times confidently and calmly. Are you okay with letting God be in control of your circumstances?