Near the end of Luke’s account of the first century church, the apostle Paul finds himself in the middle of a long drawn out trial. After overseeing this case for two years, Governor Felix was succeeded in office by Porcius Festus. Prior to leaving his position, Felix caved to public pressure, leaving Paul as a prisoner in chains to curry favor with powerful Jewish leaders. Held captive by a political justice system, Paul recognized that his fate was in the hands of positions of authority.
So, said he, let those who are in a position of authority and are influential among you go down with me, and if there is anything amiss or criminal about the man, let them so charge him, Acts 25:5.
While the United States Judicial System is not perfect, it’s based upon the concept that individuals are innocent until proven guilty. This idea is foreign to many countries where some are held against their will in encampments, jails or re-programing sites for weeks, months or years. Unfortunately, positions of authority are often influenced by political figures who seek absolute power, control and expanding their jurisdiction. Despite their innocence, some people are still waiting in jail for an influential leader to come to their rescue.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God, Romans 13:1.
In the passage above, perhaps the apostle Paul is referring to his own situation, waiting for justice. Whatever the inspiration for this statement, Paul recognizes that God places leaders into the positions that they now hold. Although some may not deserve it, God has a purpose or reason for the outcomes that have already taken place. Unfortunately, the answers many hope, pray for and seek often don’t arrive until the afterlife. Thus, for now the only reasonable action obedient citizens can take is to be subject to governing authorities, praying for wisdom to guide your state or country.
by Jay Mankus