About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 22:30 and 23
verse 30, Paul had his chains removed from him.
Sanhedrin is a group of 70 or 71 men, depending on what commentator you
verse 1 of chapter 23 Paul now gets a chance to defend himself before the
Jewish Sanhedrin and the Roman authorities.
Luke says that he looked "straight at the Sanhedrin".
Possibly Paul was studying the faces of those he was talking to.
He might have known some of them from his pre-conversion days.
calls them brothers because they are fellow Jews, not because they are
brothers in the Lord.
first thing that Paul says is that he has "a good conscience"
before God. He had done all
that God required of him up to that date.
As far as Paul was concerned, he lived his life in a way that was
pleasing to God, although those listening would question that point. This
should be the mentality for all Christians.
is clear that the high priest was angry with Paul from the very beginning.
Paul hardly had a chance to say anything.
In verse 2 the high priest had him slapped in the face.
verse 3 we note that Paul did not appreciate being hit in the face.
Paul was clearly upset. He
called those in his presence white washed walls.
This is an idiom meaning that they were hypocrites.
A white washed wall looked nice and clean but it was still dirty
below its white new finish on it.
was right on when he said that the Jewish leadership accused him of not
upholding the Law while at the same time they broke the Law by having him
being struck in the face. This
is why Paul viewed these men as hypocrites.
verse 4 we see that Paul was rebuked for calling the chief priest a white
washed wall. The text calls
Ananias, the high priest, "God's priest".
He might well have been a high priest but he certainly wasn't God's
verse 5 Paul turns a bit apologetic. He
did not realize that Ananias was the high priest, and, he knew the
Scripture taught that no one should speak evil of the high priest. (Exodus
22:28) I think that if Paul
had have known that Ananias was the high priest he would not have talked
as he did. I believe that even
though Paul did not consider Ananias
to be a man of God, he still had respect for the position of high priest
or else he wouldn't have said what he said here.
I think as Christians we can learn from this.
We may disagree with any kind of leadership.
It may be civil leaders or it may be Christian leaders, whatever
the case, we must be respectful. That
doesn't mean we hold back the truth, because we don't.
We speak the truth in love. We
speak the truth in a respectful way even if the respect is not returned to
us, as seen here.
see Paul's craftiness at work in verse 6.
He knew there were both Sadducees and Pharisees in the Sanhedrin.
These two groups differed in their theology in many respects.
One way in which they differed concerned the resurrection of the
dead. That Sadducees did not
believe in the resurrection of the dead.
Once you die, that's it. The Pharisees did believe that there was
life after death.
this in mind Paul told them that he was a Pharisee and the reason why he
was arrested was solely due to the fact that he believed in the
resurrection of the dead. I
think Paul was hoping this would split the group in half.
The Pharisees would take his side on this issue while the Sadducees
would oppose him. At that
point he would have hoped the Pharisees would drop their case against him.
seldom see Paul calling himself a Pharisee after he became a Christian,
but he does here, and, it was only part of his defense.
He didn't go around preaching the Law as a good Pharisee would.
He only said this as a means to divide his opposition, and once
divided, would fall.
see in verses 9 and 10 that Paul's plan worked.
The Sanhedrin was divided and they were arguing vigorously with
each other. Things were
getting serious and violent as passions rose.
Things got so violent between the Pharisees and the Sadducees that
the captain of the guard had to send his soldiers to get Paul.
He was afraid that Paul would be torn apart by the violence that he
saw taking place. So the soldiers took Paul back to the barracks.
Thing we can learn here is that in a debate, Christians can be crafty, as
Paul was. There's no need to
take a back seat to our opposition.
thing we see here is that religion apart from Jesus and the Holy Spirit
can get pretty nasty. You see
this over and over throughout the centuries, and that includes so-called
Christianity, as seen in what has been called the dark ages.
The sad fact of the matter is that we still see it today, even in
so-called Evangelical circles.
see in verse 11 that while Paul was back in the barracks, the next night
the Lord spoke to Him. He
said, "Take courage! As
you have testified about me in
verses 12 through 15 the Jews were so furious with Paul that forty men got
together and vowed that they would not eat or drink until they killed
Paul. Their plan was to
petitioned the Sanhedrin to ask the captain of the guards to bring Paul
back to them for further questioning, and on the way they would attack
Paul and kill him on the spot.
do not know very much about Paulís family but in verse 16 we learn that
he has a sister and that sister has a son.
It was this son that somehow found out about this plot to kill
Paul. How he found out, we
donít know. Upon hearing of
the plan he went right to Paul and told him. I
wonder if Paul's sister and son were Christians.
I have a hard time thinking they wouldn't be, but one never knows.
Jesus did say that because of Him, families would be split.
17 tells us that once Paul heard this he asked one of the guards to take
his sisterís son to the captain of the guards to inform him of this
see in the remaining verses of this section that the young man did tell
the captain all that he knew concerning the plot to ambush Paul.
The captain dismissed the young man and told him not to tell anyone
that he had mentioned this plan to him.
Once again Paul's life was spared.
wanted Paul to testify of Him in Rome. There were a number of
opportunities for Paul to have lost his life up to this point and beyond,
but that could never be, and I believe Paul knew that.
If Jesus wanted Paul to preach to Caesar, to Caesar he would
preach. Nothing would get in
As I've noted before, all along the way while Paul
was heading to
Romans 8:28 and following Paul said that nothing could separate us from
the love of God, not even death. Paul
knew this truth experientially. It was very real to him.
verse 23 we see that after hearing of the plot to kill Paul the captain of
the guards decided to send Paul to
was the governor of the province
of Judea. Caesarea is roughly seventy
miles from Jerusalem. Felix was known to be a very
cruel man at times, not caring what anyone thought of him.
sent a letter along with these men to Felix filling him in on the reason
why Paul was being sent to him as seen in verses 26 to 30.
In the letter he stated that the Jews tried to kill Paul and so he
arrested him. After calling
the Sanhedrin together to get to the bottom of things he still could not
learn why the Jews wanted Paul dead. It
appeared to be a matter of Jewish Law.
Therefore, when he found out that Paulís life was once again in
danger because of a plot against him, he felt he should send him to Felix.
point to consider is that throughout Acts when the Jewish Christian
conflict reached the Roman courts, the Romans always were reluctant to
here the case because from their viewpoint it was just a matter of
religion. The Roman
authorities figured the Christians and Jews should be able to resolve
their religious conflict on their own.
They didn't need
verse 31 the multitude of soldiers left at 9 PM and went 42
was delivered to Felix with the letter.
After reading the letter he learned that Paul was from the
needed to know what province Paul was from.
He was arrested in
Herod's Palace in verse 35. This
would have been the palace where Pilate lived back in the days when he
sentenced Jesus to death.