Summary: The Bible often teaches and illustrates the doctrine of God’s providence; His providence should be a source of great comfort and instruction for every believer.
“What rotten luck I’ve been having lately!” “I’m having a bad day!” “Oh, well, whatever will be will be, and there’s nothing that we can do about it!”
You’ve probably heard people say all of these statements. Perhaps you’ve even said or thought something similar yourself at times.
But all of those declarations are at odds with Biblical truth, because each statement goes against the truth of God’s providence. There is no such thing as luck or pure chance. If we have a bad day, it is because the Lord has allowed these circumstances for our benefit.
Bad days don’t just happen! “Whatever will be will be” reflects a view of our circumstances as being caused by impersonal fate.
The Bible often teaches and illustrates the doctrine of God’s providence; His providence should be a source of great comfort and instruction for every believer. It means that God is not distant, passive, or unconcerned with the daily events in our lives. Rather, as our loving and caring Heavenly Father, He actively governs the daily events of our lives, usually behind the scenes, without in any way robbing us of the duty of making responsible choices.
The story in our text illustrates for us the doctrine taught elsewhere of God’s providence. The governing verse for this and all of the events before Paul reaches Rome is verse 11, where the Lord promises Paul that he must witness at Rome also. God has declared His sovereign purpose, and we will see it unfold in the chapters ahead.
God declares that Paul will bear witness for Him in Rome. Over 40 Jewish terrorists determine that even if they die in the process, they will not eat or drink until they assassinate Paul. Guess who prevails?
I. THE PLAN OF DECEPTION (12-15)
The opposition that we face often comes from those who are religious rather than from the pagans.
Paul’s opposition here came from the Jews, and not just from the average, go-to-synagogue Jews, but from the Jewish leaders.
A. The enemy was dedicated
This was a dedicated bunch after Paul. They had the utmost degree of indignation against Paul because he was the apostle of the Gentiles
The very people Paul loved so much, those whom he was willing to die for to see them saved, desire to see him dead.
They took an oath that would not eat or drink before they had killed Paul. How this rebukes God’s people in our day that often will not go without even the nonessentials to serve the Lord.
B. The enemy was deceitful
There was no way of getting near Paul in the castle. He is there under the particular protection of the government and is imprisoned, not, as others are, lest he should do harm, but lest he should have harm done to him; and therefore the plan is that the chief priests and elders would desire that the governor of the castle let Paul come to them to the council-chamber, to be further examined. In his passage from the castle to the council, they would kill Paul.
The plan was well laid; and nothing but the interposition of Providence could have prevented its execution.
II. THE PROVISION FROM THE DIVINE (16-22)
It just “so happens” that Paul’s nephew gets wind of the plot and tells Paul, who sends him to the commander, who is willing to listen to the boy’s story and act on it. He calls together 470 armed troops to escort Paul safely to the Roman governor, Felix, at Caesarea.
A. An inconspicuous lad
This is the first and the last time we will see the Paul’s nephew. This is all we know of the family of Paul.
It is possible that this nephew was studying in Jerusalem, as Paul had done many years before, and heard of the plot from those who did not know that he was in any way related to Paul. Whether he was a Christian or not, he took pains to inform his uncle.
God does not need famous or influential people to get His work done. God often delights to mock the devil by using weak and common things to defeat the work of the evil one.
B. An intervening Lysias
It is not difficult to imagine Paul’s surprise when his nephew was brought into his presence. As Paul listen to the lad’s story, he was not surprised, for he knew his enemies would never change unless God saved them by His grace.
“Son,” Paul said, "would you tell your story to the chief captain. I am sure he would like to know what is going on.”
Paul called one of the centurions unto him and told them to take his nephew to the captain.
The chief captain listened attentively as the lad repeated his story. As he became aware of the scheming of the Jewish assassins, he remembered that if a Roman citizen was murdered the consequences could be grave.