Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Acts 23:23-35 (NIV)
Paul Transferred to Caesarea
23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.” 25 He wrote a letter as follows: 26 Claudius Lysias, To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him. 31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.
How do Paul’s experiences here with Roman authority here shed light on his comments in Romans 13:1-7?
Sovereign God, You know all things, and can control all things according to Your will. All governments are under You. You put rulers in their places of power and give them authority. Paul knew that and respected that. He preached in the book of Romans that people who oppose authorities are actually opposing what You have done and they will be punished. That is a timeless truth. We see this truth in our society today. Lord, protect us from the people promoting the lies that all law enforcement is bad and to be afraid of those trying to protect us. Duly constituted authorities are a threat only if people are breaking laws or hurting others. Good people following the laws have nothing to fear. Help Your people to do what is right and live responsibly as citizens so that the authorities can work alongside us for Your good. Help our society regain respect for authority because it is the right thing to do. Structure and stability that comes from following Your laws and the laws of the land actually give us peace and freedom. Bring peace and civility back to our nation. Protect our leaders and law enforcement people who are Your servants and doing Your work. Lord, protect Your people and lead us to do Your will. Use us in this turbulent time for Your glory. Thank you that you can raise up people in any situation for Your purposes. As you used Paul to advance your kingdom, Lord I pray that you would use me today. Teach me to follow Jesus as my King and still submit to government authority. May your kingdom come, May your will be done. Amen