After Paul addressed his persecutors, and caused an uproar when he revealed God’s love and desire for Gentiles to join Him in Heaven, the apostle was bound and about to be beaten when he revealed he was a Roman citizen.
“30 The next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them.” (Acts 22:30)
When he realized he had violated the privileges of Paul, a Roman citizen, the commander brought him before the Sanhedrin to be tried by his peers and judged according to his deeds.
“23 Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” (Acts 23:1)
As he stood before the Sanhedrin, Paul attentively studied the council about to judge him. Years before, he was their appointed executioner of Christians, the very group to which he had now become an advocate.
“2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?” (Acts 23:2-3)
When Paul claimed his conscience was clear, he was smitten on the mouth by the order of the high priest, Ananias who believed the prisoner had spoken falsely. But, Paul felt compelled to prophecy Ananias’s demise, whom he called a hypocrite.
“4 And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?” 5 Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” (Acts 23:4-5)
Here, Paul apologizes for his violating the Mosaic law when he reviled the high priest, claiming no man of God would strike a defenseless prisoner on trial, also a violation of the law.
“6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” (Acts 23:6)
Paul noticed the Sanhedrin was comprised of Sadducees, the chief priests, and Pharisees who acted as scribes. Facing an unfair judgment based on his works as a Christian preacher, the apostle used the belief differences between both parties to divide the Sanhedrin in hope his charges would be dismissed.
“7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. 8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.” (Acts 23:7-8)
When Paul reminded the Pharisees he was one of them, they were reminded of their contention with the Sadducees, since both sects supported different points of view regarding resurrection, angels and spirits.
“9 Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.” (Acts 23:9)
Now divided, members of the Sanhedrin shifted their focus on each other, just as Paul had hoped. Siding with the former Pharisee, the scribes found the prisoner not guilty, and washed their hands of the outcome of the trial, fearing God’s wrath if indeed Paul was divinely appointed to a ministry foreign to the Jews.
“10 Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.” (Acts 23:10)
As one side of the Sanhedrin sided with Paul, and the other sought to lay hands on him, the commander opted to remove the prisoner from the temple and order him back to the castle barracks where he would await the chief captain’s decision based on further investigation. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre