Day 94 – The Bureaucracy of Rome

Today’s reading: Acts 23:12-35

Today we read sort of a mundane but insightful vignette in the beginning of what will be Paul’s final journey.  Being held in custody in part to protect him from the Jewish crowds and in part because of the Romans pathological need to keep the peace the Roman leader learns of a plot to kill Paul.  So he sends Paul to the Roman governor Felix. This will prevent the Jewish leaders from getting their hands on Paul and require them to go and make their case against Paul on the merits.

What is interesting is the contrast between the situation Paul finds himself in and the situation the led to Jesus crucifixion.  Up until now, they have been largely similar but now they begin to diverge.  Whereas Jesus had no rights, Paul by virtue of his Roman citizenship is entitled to certain legal protections.  Now the power of the Roman state will begin to be turned to the advantage of the Christians.  It is Roman legal protections that will keep Paul alive for an extended period of time.  It is Roman roads that will take him to the capital.  It is Roman mail that will deliver his letters that will later comprise the bulk of the New Testament.   Historians are unanimous is their agreement that it is the Roman infrastructure that will allow Christianity to spread so quickly and effectively through the Roman Empire, that and the Holy Spirit of course.

Tomorrow: Acts 24

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