Wow, we are at the end of another chapter and we have picked up a lot here. First, let us look at what happened here from the Roman commander’s perspective. When we do this, we are going to try to make sense of the chaotic life of Paul through the eyes of an unbeliever. As men go, the commander is a good man. He is dedicated to his job, he is kind and attentive to Paul’s nephew, he is disciplined, and he follows the rules. He upholds the law. He is self-controlled, when he could have easily vented his anger on Paul, or on his adversaries (or both), he is, in most regards, a better man than Paul’s Jewish adversaries. All those accolades being said, as a friend of mine would say, “He is as lost as a goose.”
To him, the events he witnessed have been pure chaos. He cannot make sense of it at all. He does not grasp the gospel, so he will never understand the intensity of the opposition to Paul. From his point of view, this whole thing is a mess, or more precisely, a Jewish mess. He cannot identify the central issue (the gospel), nor does any of this make sense. He cannot see the big picture—what God is doing. He does not see the sovereign hand of God in all this. From his letter to Felix, I would say that Claudius Lysias congratulates himself for any good that has happened.
As Paul has written elsewhere, we live in a chaotic world. While I was writing this study, our country is in serious “civil” war in Lebanon; we still have troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is just one of many armed conflicts in our world at this moment in time. To the unbelieving eye (that is, the eye of those who have not embraced Jesus as the only means of salvation), the world is a mess, and the best they can hope for is some human remedy. No wonder so many live in despair, without any hope—when the whole time all they have to do is call on the Messiah that Paul teaches about and the God of Creation has assigned as our Redeemer.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Story of Acts