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Summary: If Paul had been a private citizen, attempting to travel from Jerusalem to Caesarea (about sixty-five miles) he would have been an easy target for the conspirators. But God arranged for 470 Roman soldiers to protect him, almost half of the men in the....

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May 14, 2016

Acts of the Apostles

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson: IV.F.1: Paul Escorted to Caesarea (23:23-35)

Acts 23:23-35 (KJV)

23 And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;

24 And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.

25 And he wrote a letter after this manner:

26 Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting.

27 This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.

28 And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council:

29 Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds.

30 And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell.

31 Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.

32 On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle:

33 Who, when they came to Caesarea and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him.

34 And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia;

35 I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judgment hall.

Introduction

Lysias decided to send Paul to Caesarea, the seat of the provincial government and the residence of the procurator. The urgent matter requiring Paul’s immediate removal from Jerusalem was the eminent threat from the 40 conspirators. He probably would have made this transfer sooner or later under any circumstances. The Jews were charging Paul with a capital crime, and only the procurator had jurisdiction over such cases. Furthermore, Paul was a Roman citizen, and that too placed Paul under the procurator rather than a lesser official such as himself. As commander of the Jerusalem garrison, his primary responsibility was maintaining peace and order. The mobs, the plots, all must have convinced him that Paul’s continued presence in Jerusalem was not only a danger to Paul’s own life but a threat to the general peace of the city as well.

If Paul had been a private citizen, attempting to travel from Jerusalem to Caesarea (about sixty-five miles) he would have been an easy target for the conspirators. But God arranged for 470 Roman soldiers to protect him, almost half of the men in the temple garrison! Once again in his career, Paul was smuggled out of a city under cover of night (Acts 9:25; 17:10).

Commentary

23 And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;


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