The Strategy of Paul
ACTS 23: 1-10
There was a certain audacious recklessness about Paul's conduct before the Sanhedrin; he acted like a man who knew that he was creating a challenge. To say Brethrenwas to put himself on an equal footing with the court, for the normal beginning when addressing the Sanhedrin was, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel." When the high priest ordered Paul to be struck, he himself was transgressing the Law, which said, "He who strikes the cheek of an Israelite, strikes, as it were, the glory of God." So, Paul frowns upon him, calling him a white-washed wall. To touch a dead body was for an Israelite to incur ceremonial defilement; it was, therefore, the custom to whitewash tombs so that none might be touched by mistake. So, Paul is calling the high priest a white-washed tomb.
It was indeed a crime to speak evil of a ruler of the people (Exodus 22:28). Paul knew perfectly well that Ananias was high priest. But Ananias was notorious as a glutton, a thief, a robber, and in the Roman service. Paul's answer really means, "This man sitting there-I never knew a man like that could be a high priest of Israel." Then Paul made a claim that he knew would upset the Sanhedrin. In the Sanhedrin, there were Pharisees and Sadducees whose beliefs were often opposed. Above all, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead; the Sadducees did not.
So, Paul claimed to be a Pharisee and it was for the hope of resurrection from the dead that he was on trial. As a result, the Sanhedrin was split in two, and in the violent argument that followed, Paul was nearly torn in pieces. To save him from violence, the commander had to take him back to the barracks again.
Life Application: So, what is there in all this to meditate on today? You will never go through what Paul went through, but you must stand up for what you really believe. You believe in Jesus as the Son of God, His life on earth, death and resurrection but not everyone on earth will agree with you. This is where you need the mind of Jesus and how to answer those who disagree with you.
Praise/Prayer: Dear Father, please help me to be willing to stand up for what You want. Some people who confront me are hostile and have their minds made up. They need to meet Jesus and experience His love for them for a life change. In times like this, I need to know what You want me to be able to say so that the hearer will want a transformed life. Thank You for giving me wisdom at times like this. Amen!