Daily Devotional: Saturday 6th June

by William Moody

Acts 22:30–23:11

Paul Before the Council

30 But on the next day, desiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.

23:1 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God's high priest?” And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”

Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees' party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” 10 And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks.

11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”

(ESV)

Paul is both courageous and very clever in his defence not just of himself but of the gospel. There are times in sharing the Gospel when we need to be strong and call out wrong behaviour for what it is (v2-3). In this we must beware of pride and seek always to act in a biblical manner (v4-5).

The Pharisees were theologically conservative, believing in the resurrection while the Sadducees were theologically liberal disbelieving the resurrection (v6-8). Paul was revealing the contradictions in these two groups working hand in hand against him.

One of the important aspect sin sharing the Gospel is to confront people with contradictions in what they believe and do. Often false belief has to be pulled down before true belief can be built.

These religious people began to show their true colours (v9-10) with very violent behaviour which threatened Paul’s life. Paul was a courageous man, but he was just a man and he needed the support and encouragement of the Lord (v11). As we step out in faith it is this support and encouragement coming to us that enables us to go on.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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