“Take Courage!” the Lord says to Paul. He needs it – four times he has been rescued by the Romans and this time he is headed finally to Rome. No scheme of man or hell can prevail against God’s will.
Forty Jews have made an oath not to eat until they have killed Paul – I wonder whether they died of starvation or quietly gave up with their tails between their legs. Paul’s nephew heard of the plot and tells Paul, who persuades a Centurion to pass the message on to the commander. Paul’s VIP prisoner status is confirmed as the Romans arrange 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen and 200 spear men to escort Paul to Caesarea with a letter of introduction.
The story is dripping with irony too – the Jews who are accusing Paul of being lax with the law (21:28 and 23:4) are making a mockery of the legal system and taking the law into their own hands for a good old fashioned lynching. The Jews here are prejudiced and violent and, contrastingly, the Romans open minded and maintaining law, order and justice. Four times Paul has been rescued by the Romans and taken into custody for further investigation and three times so far he has been declared innocent. If we remember the contention that Luke and Acts were written as a legal defence of Paul at his Roman trial and the distinct possibility that the addressee, Most Excellent Theophilus, is the judge, then we can see why.
Take courage! Be bold as a lion, because He sent the Lamb.