God Moves in Mysterious Ways

David Bast

Read: Acts 22:22-29; 23:12-24

Paul resolved . . . [to] go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” (Acts 19:21)

The last ten chapters of Acts tell the story of Paul’s journey to Rome. It takes a long time, and a lot happens along the way. Paul announces his intention to travel to Rome in chapter 19, and immediately all hell breaks loose (I use the expression literally). There’s a big riot in Ephesus, and Paul has to leave town. There’s another one in Jerusalem, and Paul’s life is only saved at the last minute when Roman troops place him in protective custody.

One big thing Paul had going for him through all the turmoil of these years was his Roman citizenship. When the Roman officer who arrested Paul found out he was a Roman citizen by birth, he took extra care to protect him.

So Paul’s life is saved through Roman intervention, and his innocence—and by implication the legitimacy of the faith he proclaimed—will eventually be declared in a Roman court (Acts 26:30-32). After languishing in prison in Caesarea for more than two years, Paul exercises his right as a Roman citizen and appeals his case to the emperor (25:10-11). So even his transportation to the capital will be in a Roman ship, at Roman expense! God does move in mysterious ways, as William Cowper’s hymn says—ways that aren’t always comfortable for us. But he accomplishes his purposes without fail, every time. —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, use my life too, in whatever way you choose, for your kingdom purposes.