Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Acts 23:23-35

As my mother used to tell me, God works in mysterious ways. Today's reading screams this to me loud and clear. The more obvious example of that in today's reading may be the Roman soldiers delivering Paul from his enemies. However, I want to write about another, perhaps less obvious, example.

The Roman official that rescued Paul from the Jews was Claudius Lysias. In his letter to Governor Felix, Claudius writes, "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." (verse 29) Of course the law to which Claudius was referring was Jewish law. It sounds very similar to the findings of Pontius Pilate 20 years earlier when the Jews brought Jesus to him. Claudias' findings reiterated the Roman view that Christianity was no threat or offense to Rome.

The view that Christianity was no threat or offense to Rome is correct on one level and incorrect on another. It is correct in that Christianity is not a threat to anyone or anything. Christianity will make Rome famous as the seat of the Western Church. Missionaries will be sent by the Roman Church to convert England to Christianity which ultimately leads to the Anglican Church. At the same time, this view is obviously incorrect in that the spread of Christianity is one of the factors that brings down the Roman Empire (and, of course, Paul's rescue plays a large part in that).

Yes, God most certainly works in mysterious ways. But please remember, that even though God's ways may sometimes be mysterious to us, God is always in control. God is able to see a much bigger picture than we can, and thus what may be mysterious to us many times is that way because we can only see our miniscule part of the universe.

Wishing you the best in your walk with Christ,
Richard Leach

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