Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!” After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” Acts 25:10-12
There are many things about God’s economy that are counterintuitive. Things like “the first shall be last,” “love your enemies,” and “consider others more important than yourself.” It is counterintuitive because our fallen nature doesn’t naturally operate like that. God teaches us to operate differently from our nature; he, too, works differently than we expect. The final chapters of Acts give an example of that. What we find in these closing chapters are oppositions to Paul and his message.
Paul finds himself in multiple jail cells, standing before various judges, and ultimately shipped to Rome to be tried in the highest court. The unexpected part of all of this is how God uses each step to advance the message of salvation. Paul preaches to influential political leaders; he shipwrecks on an island of an unreached people group and preaches to them. Finally, he finds himself in prison in Rome but he preaches openly without hindrance (Acts 28:30-31). Read in isolation, these chapters don’t show us the pattern. But if you compare this to other texts, it seems that God delights in working this way. God seems to revel in the opportunity to advance his goodness despite and through opposition. When he does, he proves himself to be the King of Kings.
If you look at your circumstances and doubt that God could work through them, maybe that is when he wants: to work mightily. Listen to the song “Battle Belongs” By Phil Wickham and remember that God is at work beyond our weakness. He works beyond our capacity, and he moves beyond the barriers.
By Aaron Bjorklund