Jesus’ Life: Chapter 22 – Paul’s Return To Jerusalem & Imprisonment in Caesarea
When some people don’t get what they want by lawful means, they revert to evil and often draw others into their wretched plans!
A group of forty Jews, probably Sadducees, took an oath “not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul,” they loathed his work, teachings and success as a disciple of Jesus. (Acts 23:12) Then they formed a conspiracy plan to fulfil their vow.
They went to the chief priests and elders of the Sanhedrin, probably the Sadducees who were of like-mind and wanted Paul “removed”. They told them of their vow and asked them to request the commanding officer of the barracks, where Paul was imprisoned, to bring him to the Sanhedrin for “a more thorough inquiry”. On the way, they would ambush the soldiers and “kill [Paul]”. (Acts 23:15)
Fortunately, a nephew of Paul’s was in Jerusalem at the time and heard about their plan. He went to the barracks and told Paul who, through a centurion, took him to the commanding officer.
The commanding officer, sympathetic to the man’s information and duty-bound to the safe-keeping of a Roman Citizen, ordered the man to “tell no one that you have reported these things to me” and instructed two centurions to make ready a large armed escort; two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, two hundred spearmen and horses for Paul by 9.00pm. (Acts 23:22)
At 9.00pm, the commanding officer ordered the armed guard to take Paul to Governor Felix in Caesarea with an accompanying letter.
The armed guard accompanied Paul to the safety of Antipatris, about 42 miles beyond Jerusalem and 26 miles to Caesarea, before returning to their barracks. The remaining horsemen, with Paul, continued to Caesarea.
Upon arrival, Governor Felix ordered Paul to be placed under guard in Herod’s palace until he received the charges from his accusers. (Acts 23:12-35)
To His Excellency Governor Felix.
This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, when I came up with the detachment and rescued him, because I had learned that he was a Roman citizen.
Since I wanted to know what charge they were accusing him of, I brought him down to their council. I found he was accused with reference to controversial questions about their law, but no charge against him deserved death or imprisonment.
When I was informed there would be a plot against this man, I sent him to you at once, also ordering his accusers to state their charges against him before you.
Do not make oaths. “Let your word be ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no.’ More than this is from the evil one”. (Matthew 5:37)
Lord Jesus, comfort and heal the victims of crime. Remove all anger and hatred from their hearts, and help them to see your endless love for them. Amen
Prayer: Sweet Jesus (St Thomas Aquinas)
Sweet Jesus, Body and Blood most Holy,
be the delight and pleasure of my soul,
my strength and salvation in all temptations,
my joy and peace in every trial,
my light and guide in every word and deed,
and my final protector in death. Amen.