"Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
An angel explains to Paul he must face Caesar but not fear him. Caesar who leads Rome, the brutal superpower.
Rome that enslaved hundreds of thousands, Rome that murdered millions,
Rome that hung thousands of people on crosses.
Rome that enabled thousands of babies to be thrown on rubbish dumps.
Rome that believed women were property.
Rome that has Paul under house arrest.
Caesar is to be faced but not feared. Paul's response is faith not fear.
Faith in the God who raised Jesus from the dead, faith in God’s purposes for him, which include facing Caesar. Faith in the preservation of those on board.
It’s a faith rooted in the God of the Old Testament revealed in Jesus.
It’s a faith in God that inspires courage, calls for obedience, and has both feet on the ground.
It’s a faith that isn’t devoid of the painful facts or distracted from God’s purposes. Verse 26 is so matter-of-fact, "nevertheless, we must run aground on some island."
I’ve often asked myself, why the composure, why the clarity, why the focus, why the resolve?
Why isn’t Paul adding to the noise increasing fear in Rome?
Why isn’t Paul running around like a headless chicken, or like Jonah making every effort to head in the other direction?
Because Paul knows in the depth of his heart, his life, and Caesar's, the life of Rome, and the sailors' lives are all in the hands of the living God, who raised Jesus from the dead.
Rome crucified Jesus and Jesus rose.
Yes, Paul will face Caesar, but he will not fear him.
CCCNZ Ambassador Mark Grace