33 “Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, 36 for the mob of the people followed, crying out, “Away with him!” (Acts 21:33–36)
God’s providence, or divine intervention, can occur at any time in our lives. Today’s text is an example of how God’s providence occurred in Paul’s life. At the mercy of a riotous mob who sought to kill him (Acts 21:22-31), the Lord used a Roman tribune and his soldiers to rescue Paul from the mob by arresting him and placing him in chains. Certainly, God causes all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28).
Upon Paul’s arrest, the tribune continually sought to find out who Paul was and what he had done to warrant such a reaction by the Jerusalem citizens. The reason was that the crowd was in complete confusion. Some were shouting one thing about Paul, while others were shouting something else. The result of this scene of turmoil and confusion was that the tribune could not ascertain the facts. Therefore, the tribune ordered Paul to be brought into the barracks.
The intensity of the scene is evidenced by the soldiers. They literally had to carry Paul into the barracks because of the violence of the crowed. This was done because either the tribune, or the soldiers, feared for Paul’s life, or because he had been so badly injured and weakened by the crowds’ violence that he could not climb the steps.
Mirroring the crowd’s reaction to Jesus years earlier (Luke 23:18; John 19:15), they shouted for the Romans to execute Paul. This would have been done by crucifixion. Placing Paul under arrest and bringing him into the Roman barracks, proved to be a providential decision safeguarding the apostle’s life and wellbeing.
Can you recall how God has providentially intervened in your own life, with circumstances, at least on the surface, which appeared to be less than ideal but which proved to a blessing from the Lord? Take time today to not only think about such things, but to also thank God that He continues to intervene in our lives.
Sol deo Gloria!