so the soldiers, according to their instructions, took paul and brought him by night to antipatris. and on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. when they had come to caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented paul also before him. on reading the letter, he asked what province he was from. and when he learned that he was from cilicia, he said, “i will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” and he commanded him to be guarded in herod’s praetorium.  – [acts 23:31-35]


gentiles, jews and kings


paul had long ago received the prophecy that he would speak the gospel to gentiles and kings and the children of israel (acts 9:15). paul has preached to both jews and gentiles, and this part of his journey would see that he ultimately presented the gospel to be heard by kings; paul’s words would indeed echo throughout the very house of the emperor.


now, accompanied by soldiers, paul was now safely in the hands of the roman authorities. his future debates will occur not before mobs or the temple, but in the roman courts.


however, paul has lost his freedom. where he previously moved about freely, he will now be in custody.


so begins the long road to rome.


paul’s gospel presentation has moved from a jewish court before a jewish council to a roman court before a roman governor.


the sanhedrin will now be making their arguments against paul outside of their own walls. their debate is no longer a debate among jews.


their case against paul, a roman citizen, will now be judged by a roman court.


the legal odds are now squarely in paul’s favor, yet his goal is not to ‘win the case’ and again go free.


his goal is unchanged – to preach the gospel before all who would hear.


paul does not merely seek to win the governor’s verdict in his favor. paul seeks for the governor, and all in the room, to hear the gospel clearly presented.


it can be said that paul’s fate has changed hands. yet in truth his fate remained where it had always been – in the hands of the God who loved him and called him to the purpose of sharing the gospel before gentiles, jews, and kings.


~ jason soroski