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Acts 22:30-23:11 (NIV)
Paul Before the Sanhedrin
30 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them. 23 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” 4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!” 5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’” 6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.) 9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks. 11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”
Why (and how) does Paul show his respect for the Jewish Law?
Paul respected the law. He stated that his conscience was clear in regard to his civil conduct. He also respected Jewish authority. When he discovered that his rebuke was made to the high priest, he immediately backed off, realized that he was wrong, and apologized. The position that Ananious held deserved respect even if the man did not. Lord, You give leaders authority. Especially as of late, people who hold positions of authority are no longer respected. Because of that lack of respect, the world has become a dangerous place for those who try to enforce our laws. Lord, help us to regain respect for all those in authority. That includes parents, teachers, managers, pastors, police officers, elected officials, and the President. Without law and order, there can be no peace or freedom. I may not like what a person does, but I need to respect the office that they hold. I pray that You give our leaders discernment and wisdom as they face crises on a daily basis. I thank you for the integrity of leaders who put the people they serve above their own personal interests and I pray that you conform those who don’t. I pray that You provide them protective cover and keep them safe. Help people grasp the understanding that in order to get respect, they need to give respect. I pray that our world can return to civil order and the chaos is stopped for everyone’s sake. You are the ultimate authority. You are to be respected and honored above all others. Lead us back to You. Amen