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 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” 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 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?” 4 Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” 5 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.’”
6 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.” 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9 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.”
A Plot to Kill Paul
12 When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
16 Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- V30 Sanhedrin was a Jewish Supreme Court; this was where all the high-ranking officials gathered, to listen to what Paul had to say. People would usually feel intimidated in such a situation but Paul still spoke boldly. Surely he had a lot of courage from God.
- V1 For Paul to say that he had fulfilled his duty to God in all good conscience until that day, what a statement! Of course it didn’t mean that he was sinless. He was claiming that he has never acted as a hypocritical man in his life. Sometimes our conscience will be corrupted in order to achieve a certain goal, but God indeed knows everything. Let us serve him with a pure and honest heart in our ministry.
- V6 Not only did Paul have courage, but he also had wisdom. Although Paul wanted to preach the gospel in Jerusalem, sensing that the audience would not listen to him and he was not going to get a fair trial, he referred himself as a Pharisee. He certainly knew his audience – the Pharisees and Seducees. He proclaimed that he was being judged on the basis of his belief in the resurrection, a hot issue between these two parties. So he could get the Pharisees to sympathize with him, instead of having them united against him. Recalling what Jesus said to his disciples in the book of Matthew 10:16- ‘I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves’. In our ministry we certainly need to ask for wisdom to deal with difficult situations.
V11 It is so wonderful that our Lord does not leave us in despair. He is always there to guide us and to encourage us when we are down. ‘Take courage’ – one phrase from our Lord is much better than a thousand words from friends. When all seems lost and we may be unsure if we are doing the right things, the Lord is always there to support and guide us to His glory – especially when our desire is to glorify Him.
- V12 – V16 What an evil and devious plot the 40 Jews had planned with the help of the high priest to kill Paul! However, God had saved Paul through his nephew. No one can hurt us without the permission of God. In these unusual circumstances, we see God’s protecting hand all over Paul. God knows how to take care of His servants. Let us put our trust and faith in Him.
- This was clearly a serious plot designed by what would equal modern day terrorists. There was collusion with the Jewish leaders, who themselves had become so concerned about politics and their own reputation, that murder was even entertained, just as they had done with Jesus. We must guard against pride, which may insidiously replace Jesus as our focus, as this is one reason why we end up sinning.
submitted by Colleen
PRAYING IN FAITH
Pray to the Lord that you can serve Him with a pure and honest heart.
For Your Five
Pray that your five will have courage and wisdom to cope with difficult situations and most importantly, put their trust and faith in Him as it is written that He will never forsake us.
For Our Church
Pray that our Church will be steadfast as a beacon of hope to this world of darkness and corruption so that we can lead people to Christ and glorify Him.