The events of the NT took place under oppressive circumstances. God’s people constantly faced adversity and persecution for their faith – from secular government and from religious factions.
But Acts 23 records how God used a political opportunist to protect His ambassador.
Before I go on, let me be clear: This is not an endorsement of political opportunists or a defense of their philosophy. It is simply a observation of God’s overruling providence for the protection of His people.
Jesus encourages Paul in verse 11 with these words: “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”
Then, verses 12-22 reveal a plot against Paul’s life.
Claudius Lysias hears about it and acts. Paul gets a police escort of 200 hundred soldiers and 70 horsemen along with a free ride (“provide mounts for Paul to ride”)! To put that in perspective, it’s like having nearly 1/4 of Cincinnati’s sworn-in police force give a sixty-mile escort to a preacher – roughly from Mason to Grove City.
Why all this?
Note the wording of Claudius’ letter. He takes complete credit for Paul’s rescue and elevates his diplomatic abilities. He sees Paul as means to secure favor with the higher-ups. And God uses that to deliver His servant.
No one lives outside of the sovereignty of God – even political opportunists.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, take heart! God remains in control all the time. He calls us to responsibly make wise decisions, to act in integrity, and be involved in the spheres He places us. But when things seem to be spinning out of control, God still sits at the helm guiding all things according to His perfect will.
So, “take courage”!
The Lord wills that you testify to the facts about Him – and He will care for you. He is in control. His is the Great Shepherd. He is with you to the end of the age.
And just to prove His sovereignty, He even uses unsuspecting opportunists to fulfill His work.